Put one in the win column for Facebook after lawsuits against the social network giant were dismissed in federal court. While the left and right can agree on Big Tech’s dominance, their coverage didn’t necessarily reflect that.
In a blow to activists and politicians looking to rein in Big Tech, two antitrust lawsuits against Facebook were dismissed yesterday.
- A federal judge said the lawsuits, one filed by the Federal Trade Commission and another by a coalition of state attorneys general “were legally insufficient.” Their claims were that Facebook engaged in monopolistic behavior by buying up competing platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp.
- The stock market appeared to enjoy the news as Facebook reached a $1 trillion market capitalization on the back of a 4% share price increase after the dismissal.
- The ruling left Washington scrambling and gave ammunition to critics of Big Tech in both parties who argue current antitrust laws are insufficient in the current tech economy.
- CNN highlighted the ruling’s possible effect on Facebook’s stock price while also noting the judge in the case left the door open for the FTC amend their complaint and continue with the lawsuit.
- The New York Times’ coverage noted how federal courts and Congress have diverged in their view of antitrust laws, saying Republicans and Democrats in Congress think they “needed updating for the internet sector” while courts’ opinions on antitrust have actually narrowed in recent years.
- Coverage from Vox framed the lawsuit’s dismissal as “far from over” as the FTC will have the opportunity for a second bite at the apple in an amended filing and that the Biden administration’s staffing portends a long road ahead for Big Tech as the FTC is being manned by those “well-known for [their] scrutiny of Big Tech.”
- In a short article, The Daily Caller provided more context and detail than most of the major outlets, relaying what portions of the FTC’s argument the court found lacking in evidence, namely that Facebook actually has a monopoly in “Personal Social Networking Services.”
- OANN ran a Reuters wire report ending with criticism from Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley who has been a vociferous detractor of Big Tech.
- While the Daily Wire called the ruling “a massive blow to Congress’ effort to rein in Big Tech”, their report concurred with CNBC’s assessment that the FTC’s filing may have taken too many liberties in assuming the court would automatically agree with the FTC’s argument that Facebook has a monopoly.
There appears to be bipartisan agreement that Big Tech, the colloquial name given a handful of companies that effectively control most content on the internet, is too large and wields too much power in the information age. So, it is more than mildly frustrating to see many of the more caustic and enthusiastic right-leaning outlets effectively ignore this story.
It may be a “process” story, but it’s important (and could easily be spun as a clickbait article if their cynicism won out) to show how uphill the battle can be for those who have formed the unlikely left-right coalition to cut down Big Tech. One can only speculate as to why the likes of Newsmax, RedState, and Townhall effectively ignored it but my educated guess is that Biden’s FTC lost the court case, and spinning that would have been more difficult without setting aside partisanship.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021