The biggest story of today may seem the least surprising. A judge allowed the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit against Facebook—now called Meta Platforms—to proceed. This is news, given that the same judge tossed the FTC’s original complaint out of court last summer, in one of the more embarrassing moments of recent regulatory history. The government filed a new and more detailed complaint, which has now passed what is typically a minor hurdle.
As predictable as this ruling is, it’s still potentially a very big deal. The FTC’s ultimate goal is to force Meta to divest Instagram and/or WhatsApp in what would effectively be a breakup of the tech giant. We’re a long way from there, of course. In his ruling, Judge James Boasberg said it was “anyone’s guess” whether the FTC would be able to prove its case. All he did was establish that the FTC had made a “plausible claim.” Still, FTC Chair Lina Khan is surely happier today than she was last June when the original complaint was dismissed.