Meta Challenges FTC in Court

When the FTC first launched its case against Meta in 2020, it claimed the company had engaged in anti-competitive practices by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp to eliminate potential rivals. The FTC argued that these acquisitions were part of Meta's strategy to eliminate threats to its monopoly in the social media market. However, the court dismissed the initial case as the FTC failed to prove Meta had monopoly power.

In 2020, the social climate and landscape was much different than it is today. In the past four years, new players have emerged and gained significant popularity at a rapid rate. One player in particular that has bolstered Meta's defense is TikTok.

Since launching in 2016, TikTok has grown exponentially and now poses a serious threat to Meta's platforms. TikTok shows that even the largest social media companies are not invulnerable, and that new digital services can disrupt the market.

This is a key point Meta has focused on in its motion to dismiss the FTC's refiled case from 2022. Meta argues the FTC still does not properly define the relevant market or include all reasonable competitors.

In its market definition, the FTC only considers four companies - Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and MeWe. This ignores the prevalence of users engaging with other services like YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Pinterest, Reddit and more. It also does not account for the rise of TikTok and its hundreds of millions of active users in North America alone.

Meta claims both Instagram and WhatsApp have greatly benefited from the resources it provided after acquisition. Through Meta's investments, these platforms grew into leading services utilized by billions worldwide. Instagram now generates a significant portion of Meta's annual revenue, showing the acquisition has paid off tremendously for both parties. WhatsApp also continues developing new business features and remains the most used messaging platform globally.

Since the case first emerged, Meta took additional steps to defend its position. In recent years it began merging the technical infrastructure behind WhatsApp, Instagram and other messaging services. This makes the individual apps reliant on shared back-end systems.

Some viewed this as a strategic move, as interconnectivity between the platforms could strengthen Meta's hand against any potential forced divestment orders. With services literally hardwired together, it may not be possible to fully separate the companies as the FTC wants.

The court will now decide on Meta's motion for summary judgment to dismiss the case. A denial would see the lawsuit continue forward, while a dismissal would remove the threat of a potential breakup. For social media marketers, it serves as a reminder that the landscape is ever-evolving.

Regularly reviewing trends and metrics using insights from an SMM panel is important to stay ahead of changes. A comprehensive SMM service like Great SMM offers detailed social reports and analytics to optimize strategies for all major platforms. Our panel of experts analyze engagement patterns and test new features, helping clients maximize results.

As the case progresses, marketers should keep an eye on developments. A breakup order could significantly impact the ecosystem if Instagram and WhatsApp were spun off into separate companies. Separating technical systems after years of integration would also prove incredibly complex. For now, Meta makes compelling arguments that it does not hold an illegal monopoly.

While the court's decision is pending, social marketers can leverage Great SMM's expertise and tools to navigate uncertainty and test new approaches across different scenarios. Our SMM panel has deep experience adapting to shifts in the social sphere.