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FTC Says It Has Dropped Zuckerberg As Defendant In Antitrust Suit

 |  August 23, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission has said it will remove Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, from a lawsuit to block the company’s acquisition of Within Unlimited, an artificial intelligence start-up.

The agency said in a court filing on Tuesday that it agreed to drop Mr. Zuckerberg as a defendant after Meta, formerly known as Facebook, promised he would not try to personally purchase Within Unlimited. Meta had asked the agency to remove Mr. Zuckerberg as a defendant.

In June, the F.T.C. filed its complaint with U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to prevent Meta and Mr. Zuckerberg from acquiring Within, which makes the popular virtual-reality fitness app Supernatural. The F.T.C. included Mr. Zuckerberg as a defendant in the suit and accused him and Meta of planning to buy Within to dominate the nascent virtual-reality market and violate antitrust laws.

Related Content: FTC’s case against Meta’s acquisition of Within seeks to shape the emerging VR market

The lawsuit — which is part of a new strategy by Lina Khan, the F.T.C. chair, to be more forward-looking in antitrust enforcement — is considered a long shot by many legal experts because it involves an acquisition in a nascent market with many start-ups. In the past, most antitrust court cases involved more mature markets and focused on how a merger can lead to higher prices for consumers.

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