Facebook asks a federal court to dismiss government antitrust cases against it

Facebook on Wednesday asked a federal court to dismiss antitrust lawsuits brought by federal and state regulators, saying the suits failed to prove the company was a monopoly and harmed competition.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, Facebook argued that it faced ample competition and that the Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general from states and territories could not prove the company has harmed consumers.

“Antitrust laws are intended to promote competition and protect consumers,” Facebook said in a blog post. “These complaints do not credibly claim that our conduct harmed either.”

Facebook’s motion to the court is its first legal statement in what is expected to be a yearslong court battle over the power of the company and its future. Last December, the F.T.C. and attorneys general filed lawsuits claiming the company illegally built a monopoly through its mergers of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014 and had since used its dominant power to suppress competition.

Letitia James, the New York attorney general, who led the states’ complaint, said that Facebook was wrong about the law.

“We are confident in our case, which is why almost every state in this nation has joined our bipartisan lawsuit to end Facebook’s illegal conduct,” she said in a statement.

The F.T.C. declined to comment.

The lawsuit is seen as a landmark case to rein in the power of Big Tech. The Justice Department and dozens of state attorneys general have also sued Google for allegedly abusing its monopoly in search and advertising. Together, the cases have set the stage of the biggest effort by government regulators to tame the power of tech giants since a lawsuit against Microsoft two decades ago.

Facebook will have a steep burden to prove the claims in the lawsuits are not valid to win a motion to dismiss the case. The F.T.C. and states are expected to respond in April.

LATEST VIDEO