Federal court extends FTC deadline in its Facebook antitrust case

Commission has until August 19 to file a new antitrust complaint

A federal court has extended a key deadline for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its antitrust case against Facebook. The FTC now has until August 19 to file an amended complaint against the social media giant. 

The FTC originally sued Facebook for antitrust practices in December, along with 46 states, Guam, and the District of Columbia. The suit alleged the company used monopolistic practices to maintain its dominance in the social media space. That suit failed last month when a federal judge dismissed it and gave the FTC until July 29 to file an amended complaint. 

On Friday, the FTC filed a motion to extend that deadline, and Facebook agreed not to oppose the request. The social media company will respond to the complaint by October 4. If Facebook moves to dismiss the case, the FTC will have until November 17 to respond. Facebook would then get until December 1 to issue its legal volley. 

The FTC said the extended deadline would enable it to complete internal processes, arguing it won't burden Facebook. The court agreed to the extension on Friday. 

This latest procedural development in the case follows Facebook’s petition earlier this month asking the FTC to recuse chair Lina Khan from deliberations about resubmitting the case. Khan, a known critic of big tech's market practices, made public statements in the past expressing her opinion that Facebook was anti-competitive, the petition said. 

The Facebook lawsuit is pivotal for an FTC that has already abandoned another antitrust case recently. 

In March the FTC decided not to pursue an action against Qualcomm, which had been ongoing for four years. The Commission would have needed to petition the Supreme Court to pursue the case, which had been overturned in Qualcomm's favor on appeal. The decision to abandon the case was made under Kelly Slaughter, acting FTC chair at the time. 

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