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White House encouraged by dismissal of Facebook request to dismiss antitrust lawsuit

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The White House said on Wednesday it was encouraged by a U.S. judge’s decision not to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission antitrust lawsuit against Facebook.

“We are certainly encouraged by the district court’s decision,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. “We have been clear and he (President Joe Biden) has made it clear that we need more competition in the tech industry.”

Facebook, now Meta Platforms, had asked Judge James Boasberg in Washington, DC, federal court to dismiss the lawsuit in which the government asked the court to require Facebook to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.

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The judge said the FTC had a plausible case that should be allowed to continue. This represents one of the biggest challenges the government has launched against Big Tech in decades.

Meta said she was confident the company would win in court, adding that Tuesday’s judge’s ruling had narrowed “the scope of the FTC case.”

The judge said the FTC could not support claims that Facebook refused to allow interoperability permissions with competing apps in order to maintain its dominance, saying those policies were scrapped in 2018 and the app the most recent of the policy by Facebook was even older.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Howard Goller)