WASHINGTON – Facebook is asking if the Federal Trade Commission has moved away from a no-confidence investigation against the new main social network giant, making past criticisms of the company impossible for it to be neutral.
The social media giant on Wednesday appealed to the agency to bar Chair Lina Khan from taking part in the company’s current investigation into market management. Khan has been a constant critic of Amazon, Google and Apple, as well as Facebook.
FTC officials declined to comment on Facebook’s move, which prompted Amazon to apologize to Khan for taking part in the agency’s investigation. The agency is expected to respond formally at some point. Khan said he would seek the views of FTC ethics observers if a potential conflict of interest arose.
The requests from Facebook and Amazon fall under the final investigation and legal pressure from the four technology giants FTC, the judiciary and European regulators, lawyers in Washington and ultimately the executive order from the White House.
A federal judge recently rejected a no-confidence lawsuit filed against FTC and Facebook Inc., a coalition of states, saying they did not provide enough evidence to prove Facebook’s exclusiveness in the social media market. The judge, however, allowed the FTC to rectify his complaint and try again.
Facebook said in its application, “While the new commissioner has already made practical and lawful decisions and considered the target as a law-enforcement officer, appropriate action should be taken while maintaining the competence of the FTC commissioner to remove himself from the matter.” “Chair Khan has consistently made public statements that not only accuse Facebook of misconduct, it is not denied, but specifically expresses his belief that this behavior has been combined with elements of incredible crime.”
In 2019 and 2020, as advised by the House Judiciary Anti-Trust Panel, Khan played a key role in a comprehensive bilateral investigation into the market power of tech giants.
President Biden recently appointed Khan as the fifth commissioner and head of the FTC, signaling a tough stance on Big Tech and its market dominance.
Facebook said it was requesting the agency’s “no-confidence motion” to “protect justice and impartiality.”
A statement from the agency said, “Chair Khan has consistently documented the issue of Facebook and the no-confidence motion, which would force any reasonable observer to conclude that he has falsified the Facebook no-confidence motion brought by the FTC.”