The Federal Trade Commission is taking another swing at Facebook after a judge tossed out its initial effort in June, with a new complaint accusing the social media giant of illegally maintaining a monopoly by squelching competitors.
The social network “resorted to an illegal buy-or-bury scheme to maintain its dominance,” the regulator said in a news release Thursday about its new filing.
It accused Facebook of buying up-and-coming rivals Instagram and WhatsApp to protect its dominance and of luring other would-be competitors with access to its platform and data and then cutting them off when they became threats.
“After failing to compete with new innovators, Facebook illegally bought or buried them when their popularity became an existential threat,” Holly Vedova, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.
Facebook has until Oct. 4 to respond in court. On Thursday, the company blasted the FTC’s lawsuit as “meritless,” noting that its purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp had been “reviewed and cleared” by regulators “many years ago.”
“The FTC’s claims are an effort to rewrite antitrust laws and upend settled expectations of merger review, declaring to the business community that no sale is ever final,” Facebook said on Twitter. “We fight to win people’s time and attention every day, and we will continue vigorously defending our company.”