Not even Netflix’s Stranger Things has managed to construe odder narrative developments than the ones unfolding from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) pursuit of a meritless lawsuit against Meta. This week, a report came out that Meta found out about FTC’s lawsuit against them from Twitter. The lack of warning before filing from the FTC lays bare the agency’s mission to take down Meta at all costs.
The FTC’s actions in this case broke from their traditional practices when dealing with lawsuits of this nature. Normally, the FTC would seek “sworn testimony from executives at Meta or Within about the deal… if a lawsuit is in the works.” However, the communications between the FTC and Meta would have typically suggested to the traditional observer that the FTC did not intend to pursue any suit against Meta. The FTC clearly wanted to ambush Meta. This noticeable attempt to harm Meta comes at the expense of attaining testimony that would theoretically assist the FTC in their suit. So long as they had a case, that is.
This step is not the only unprecedented action that the FTC has taken while filing the lawsuit against Meta. FTC Chair Lina Khan reportedly overruled her staff in pursuing this case against Meta. Khan instead decided to follow her radical antitrust theories, which suggest that any acquisition by a company of an arbitrarily large size is intrinsically bad. This case has little to no likelihood of success. But Lina Khan does not care. As long as she gets to create more economic pressure on American companies for their “crime” of achieving too much success, she is satisfied.
The unpredictable lengths that the FTC has gone to pursue this frivolous lawsuit against Meta further erodes the credibility of the FTC. Lina Khan’s leadership has already come under fierce scrutiny from her staffers. Instead of reversing course from the unprecedented stubborn and toxic behaviors that have defined her leadership, Khan has chosen to double down. Congress needs to investigate the increasingly problematic nature of her leadership before she does any further damage to the integrity of the FTC and the American economy.