Rigettata (per ora) la domanda antitrust della FTC statunitense contro Facebook

Leggo in post odierno del prof. Hovenkamp su promarket.org che sono state rigettate le domande giudiziali della FTC Federal Trade Commission  e degli Attorney General statali separatamente presentate contro Faceook: v. sentenze 28 giugno 2021 reperibili qui e rispettivamente qui (link forniti dal cit. post dell’illustre studioso).

La censura si appunta sulla misurazione del market share:

<<Even accepting that merely alleging market share “in excess of 60%” might sometimes be acceptable, it cannot suffice in this context, where Plaintiff does not even allege what it is measuring. Indeed, in its Opposition the FTC expressly contends that it need not “specify which . . . metrics . . . [or] ‘method’ [it] used to calculate Facebook’s [market] share.” FTC Opp. at 18.  In a case involving a more typical goods market, perhaps the Court might be able to reasonably infer how Plaintiff arrived at its calculations e.g., by proportion of total revenue or of units  sold. See U.S. Dep’t of Justice & FTC, Horizontal Merger Guidelines § 5.2 (2010) (suggesting these to be the typical methods). As the above marketdefinition analysis underscores, however, the market at issue here is unusual in a number of ways, including that the products therein are not sold for a price, meaning that PSN services earn no direct revenue from users. The Court is thus unable to understand exactly what the agency’s 60%plus figure is even referring to, let alone able to infer the underlying facts that might substantiate it.  

Rather than undergirding any inference of market power, Plaintiff’s allegations make it even less clear what the agency might be measuring. The overall revenues earned by PSN services cannot be the right metric for measuring market share here, as those revenues are all earned in a separate market viz., the market for advertising. See Redacted Compl., ¶ 164; see also, e.g., id., ¶ 101 (noting that prior to its acquisition, in addition to competing in the PSN services market, “Instagram also planned and expected to be an important advertising competitor” to Facebook). Percent of “daily users [or] monthly users” of PSN services metrics the Complaint mentions offhandedly, see Redacted Compl., ¶¶ 3, 97 are not much better, as they might significantly overstate or understate any one firm’s market share depending on the various proportions of users who have accounts on multiple services, not to mention how  often users visit each service and for how long>> (v. a p. 28-29).

Ottimista (dal punto di vista della FTC) ciò nonostante  è il post 19 luglio del prof. Newman su promarket.org.