Fb antitrust instances assigned to U.S. judges named by Obama, Telecom Information, ET Telecom

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON: Lawsuits filed by the US Federal Trade Commission and almost every state in the US against Facebook Inc. on Wednesday have been assigned to two US judges in Washington appointed by former President Barack Obama.

The antitrust complaint from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Guam was forwarded to Judge James E. Boasberg, who has been on trial since 2011, while the FTC complaint has been forwarded to Judge Christopher Cooper, who has been on trial since 2014.

The complaints accuse Facebook of using a “buy or bury” strategy to snatch rivals and keep smaller competitors at bay. They are specifically focused on the 2014 photo-sharing app and messaging app WhatsApp acquisition, and could force Facebook to sell the two former rivals.

Facebook called the lawsuits “revisionist history” and said there are no antitrust laws to punish “successful companies”.

Lawyers from the plaintiff identified two related cases – one in January from some small tech companies and one from Facebook users last week. Both were filed in the US District Court in Northern California.

The states and the FTC said they would electronically provide Facebook with the suits, requiring the company to respond within 21 days.

Boasberg also serves as the presiding judge on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and was previously a judge on the District of Columbia Superior Court.

In 2017, Cooper was initially charged with the Department of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T Inc.’s acquisition of Time Warner Inc. However, he stepped aside. AT&T ultimately prevailed.

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