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The Antitrust Week In Review

Posted  February 22, 2023

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.


$3.7 bln UK mass action against Facebook over market dominance rejected – for now.  Facebook on Monday temporarily fought off a collective lawsuit valued at up to 3 billion pounds ($3.7 billion) over allegations the social media giant abused its dominant position to monetise users’ personal data. However, a London tribunal gave the proposed claimants’ lawyers up to six months to “have another go” at establishing any alleged losses by users. Meta Platforms Inc, the parent company of the Facebook group, faces a mass action brought on behalf of around 45 million Facebook users in Britain.


U.S. Justice Department escalates Apple probe – WSJ.  The U.S. Justice Department has in recent months escalated its long-running antitrust probe on Apple Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Reuters previously reported the Justice Department opened an antitrust probe into Apple in 2019 to review whether technology giants were using their size to act in an anti-competitive manner. The Wall Street Journal report said the department has now assigned more litigators, while new requests for documents and consultations have been made with all the companies involved.


Republican F.T.C. Commissioner Says She Plans to Resign.  Christine Wilson, the sole Republican commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, said that she would soon resign and criticized Lina Khan, the Democratic chair of the agency, accusing her of an “abuse of power.” Ms. Wilson, who announced her decision in an opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal, has been a consistent critic of Ms. Khan’s leadership. Ms. Khan, who became chair of the F.T.C. in June 2021, immediately set out to aggressively transform the agency into a bulwark against tech mergers and monopolies and a more powerful regulator of online privacy. Ms. Wilson and another former Republican member of the F.T.C., Noah Phillips, who resigned in October, have repeatedly expressed concerns that Ms. Khan’s ambitions exceeded the legal authority of the agency, which enforces consumer protection and competition laws.


Edited by Gary J. Malone