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In a massive blow to Congress’ effort to rein in Big Tech, a federal judge threw out antitrust lawsuits leveled against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and more than 40 states. In December 2020, both the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states accused Facebook of “buying up its rivals to illegally squash competition” and “cement its dominance over social media,” according to The New York Times. These lawsuits were built on the argument that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion — in addition to other smaller companies — were part of the wider effort to achieve a monopoly. On Monday, James E. Boasberg for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said that the case needed to be dismissed because “too much time had elapsed since the alleged offenses took place,” explained The New York Times. “The states, led by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, accused Facebook in December of buying up nascent competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp — deals made in 2012 and 2014 — to cement its monopoly over social networking,” the report added.

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