Now Facebook wants FTC President Khan to be removed from the antitrust case Business and Economy News


Facebook Inc. wants Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Lina Khan to step down from participating in decisions on the agency’s monopoly lawsuit against the company, saying her past criticism of Facebook means she has a tendency.

On Wednesday, Facebook filed a petition with the FTC asking it to ban any involvement in the antitrust case, citing his academic writings and work on a House committee that investigated technology companies, including Facebook.

“Throughout her career, President Khan has consistently and very publicly concluded that Facebook is guilty of violating antitrust laws,” Facebook said. His statements “convey to any disinterested observer that President Khan, long before he became commissioner, had already decided the facts relevant to Facebook’s responsibility.”

The petition comes as the FTC must decide by the end of the month whether to re-file its antitrust complaint against Facebook, which seeks to break the company by splitting Instagram and WhatsApp. A judge in June dismissed the case, saying the agency had not fully explained its claim that Facebook has a monopoly on social media. He gave the FTC 30 days to fix the error and resubmit it.

Facebook’s request reflects one from Inc., which argued that Khan’s criticism of the online retailer made it clear he already judged the company had violated antitrust laws.

The FTC did not immediately comment on Facebook’s request.

President Joe Biden appointed Khan president of the agency in June after the Senate confirmed it. The move meant that one of the most prominent critics of large companies was at the helm of the agency, which shares antitrust functions with the Justice Department.

“Excluded competitors”

In its petition, Facebook noted an academic paper Khan wrote for the Columbia Law Review entitled “The Separation of Platforms and Commerce.” The document describes how Facebook, Amazon, Apple Inc. and Google have integrated into several lines of business to become what she described as the guardians of the digital economy.

Khan wrote that Facebook “has excluded competitors from its platform and appropriated the information and functionality of its company.”

Khan was also one of the authors of an antitrust report from the House last year that accused the four tech giants of abusing their domain and recommended a series of reforms to antitrust laws that lawmakers are now pursuing.

After Amazon filed its recusal petition, the FTC pointed to a rule that says it is up to a commissioner to refuse. If it refuses to do so, the full committee votes on the matter without the participation of the commissioner who is subject to the request for recusal.

Khan leads a three-vote democratic majority on the five-member commission. If he decides not to contest and the matter goes to the polls, it would fall to both Republicans and two Democrats. One of the Democrats – Rohit Chopra – has been appointed by Biden to head the Office of Consumer Financial Protection, but has not been confirmed by the Senate.

During the Khan Senate confirmation hearing in April, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah asked him if he should withdraw from investigations related to technology companies given his job at the antitrust panel of Utah. the Chamber.

Lee cited a federal appeals court ruling that said a former FTC chairman should not have participated in a case before the commission because he had investigated the same issue as a lawyer on the Senate antitrust subcommittee. Facebook cited the case in its petition.

The court decision “is particularly relevant because the violation of the due process in this case is almost identical to the violation of the due process that the commission would commit here in the absence of President Khan’s recusal,” Facebook said.

Ethical laws

Khan told Lee that he did not have any of the financial disputes that are the basis of the challenge under federal ethics laws.

“If it were to arise, I would ask for guidance from those responsible for the agency’s ethics and proceed accordingly,” he said.

Prior to joining the House antitrust committee, Khan worked as a legal director at the Open Markets Institute, a Washington antitrust organization. During his tenure, Facebook said Open Markets helped organize a campaign called Freedom from Facebook (now called Freedom From Facebook and Google), which advocates the breakup of the two companies.

In a 2017 letter, Khan and other Open Markets staff members urged the FTC to block Facebook acquisitions while investigating the company’s behavior on social media and online advertising.

“Our application comes amid growing evidence that Facebook is using its growing market power in a way that stifles innovation, undermines privacy, and diverts readers and advertising revenue from reliable sources of news and information,” they said.

(Facebook request updates in the eighth paragraph)

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