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Consumers and Advertises File Brief to Prevent Facebook’s Motion to Dismiss Antitrust Claims

Facebook's app icon on a smartphoen screen.

Bangkok, Thailand - July 13, 2019 : iPhone user touching Facebook logo on iPhone screen to open the app.

Consumer and advertiser classes of plaintiffs filed a supplemental brief against Facebook, Inc. in a Northern District of California – San Jose Division lawsuit on Monday asking the court to refuse Facebook’s motion to dismiss their antitrust claims. 

This filing comes after the Federal Trade Commission’s governmental antitrust claims against Facebook were dropped in the District of Columbia, prompting the defendant to file a motion to dismiss these similar private actions as well. The plaintiffs commented on the order, pointing out that the District Court for the District of Columbia “rejected many of the arguments that Facebook repeats here,” and that the consumers’ definition of “Personal Social Networking Services” is “highly similar” to the FTC’s definition. 

The Advertiser Class noted that the court rejected Facebook’s claims against the FTC’s argument that “consumers would not substitute other services,” claiming that this “underscores the flawed premise of Facebook’s arguments on this issue.” The plaintiffs also alleged that Facebook controls approximately 85% of the consumer market and 86% of the advertiser market, making it a monopoly in both areas.

The consumers made the distinction that they are challenging “Facebook’s deception of the market and larger course of conduct involving Facebook’s serial acquisitions and use of deceptively-obtained data to identify competitors and inform those acquisitions” while the court “explicitly noted” that these claims were not the subject of their ruling. 

The Advertisers claimed that they are suing against Facebook’s “anticompetitive agreements for advertising purchases and data sharing that directly inflated social advertising demand and prices,” which distinguishes their claims from the D.C. ruling. Furthermore, the judge in the other lawsuit only ruled on equitable claims, and not on damages, which the plaintiffs are seeking.

The consumer and advertiser plaintiffs wrote this supplemental brief to explain why their claims are different from the federal ruling in an attempt to counter Facebook’s motion to dismiss these private claims.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bathaee Dunne LLP, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law LLP, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, Ahdoot & Wolfson, PC, Kellner Lenker LLC, Levin Sendran & Berman LLP, and Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.

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