Facebook shares rose more than 4% after a U.S. judge on Monday dismissed antitrust appeals by states and territories against Facebook that would force the social media platform to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, saying the federal complaint was “legally insufficient.”
Facebook’s market capitalization rose above $1 trillion for the first time as its share price rose.
The dismissal was the first major blow to state and federal lawsuits against big tech firms for alleged abuses of their massive market power.
Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the FTC was unable to make clear that Facebook had a clear monopoly on the social networking market, but said the FTC could file a new complaint by July 29.
He also dismissed a lawsuit by several US states that had waited too long to challenge the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014.
A spokesperson for the New York Attorney General’s office said it was “considering our legal options.”
Still, Judge Boasberg also said that the FTC was on firmer ground in considering the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp since the court rejected Facebook’s rebuttal that the FTC had no authority to seek an injunction against those purchases.
The FTC and a number of U.S. states filed separate lawsuits last year accusing Facebook of violating antitrust rules to keep smaller competitors at bay by snapping up rivals such as Instagram for $1 billion and WhatsApp for $19 billion.
For more information, read the original story in Reuters