Facebook wants FTC chair Lina Khan to recuse herself from antitrust case

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Facebook lawyers have filed a petition for recusal to the FTC, asking for chair Lina Khan to not be involved in discussions about pursuing an antitrust case against the social media giant.

New Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan has already faced a recusal petition following the reported start of an antitrust investigation into Amazon's buying MGM. Now Facebook's lawyers have done the same as Amazon's, arguing that Khan's previous criticisms of the company mean its case cannot receive fair consideration.

According to the Financial Times, in almost 8,000 words, Facebook cites multiple instances of Khan's comments or actions which it maintains mean she should not be involved in a case.

"Chair Khan has consistently made public statements not only accusing Facebook of conduct that merits disapproval but specifically expressing her belief that the conduct meets the elements of an antitrust offense under Section 2 of the Sherman Act," says Facebook in a filing.

"Indeed, she has led an organization lobbying the Commission to impose particular remedies against Facebook and, more recently, commented publicly as to her personal beliefs on the merits of the very complaint filed by the Commission last December," continues the petition. "[The] dismissal of which must be addressed in some fashion by the Commission in the coming weeks."

Facebook says that it "vigorously disputes as unsupported and contrary to law" Khan's statements. It also says they "convey to any disinterested observer" that Khan has already "reached legal conclusions that Facebook was liable under the antitrust laws."

In June 2021, a federal court dismissed the FTC's antitrust complaint against Facebook. However, the commission was granted a month to file an amended lawsuit.

The FTC complaint is part of a general intention from the Biden Administration to curb what it describes as the anti-competitive nature of big technology firms. President Biden has most recently signed an Executive Order aimed at precisely this.

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