April 27, 2023— A D.C. Circuit panel refused to revive a case from brought on by 46 States, the District of Columbia, and Guam which accused Facebook parent company Meta Platforms of monopolizing social networking through “buying or burying” would-be competitors.

The States’ Complaint alleged that Facebook adopted policies that prevented competing social platforms from accessing Facebook’s suite of software tools called “Facebook Platform.” The Complaint claimed that these policies resulted in a sudden loss of functionality for competing apps, leaving them “broken or buggy,” but Facebook removed these policies in 2018.

The Complaint was filed in December 2020 by both the States and the Federal Trade Commission.

As such, the panel affirmed the States waited too long by filing a case targeting acquisitions that occurred several years before. Meta has been integrating the services and changing its own products in accordance with the deals and acquisitions.

This is a significant refusal-to-deal case and an authoritative opinion from the D.C. Circuit in regard to laches and state sovereigns. It is also an important case in looking to the future of tech, as the panel stated in the Opinion, “the industry [,] . . . even on the States’ allegations, has had rapid growth and innovation with no end in sight.” 

Meta Platforms is represented by attorneys from Kellogg Hansen: Aaron Panner, Mark Hansen, Leslie Pope, and Alex Parkinson.

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