(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. asked a judge to dismiss the US Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit seeking to break up the company, saying the agency can’t prove consumers would be better off without its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

In a court filing Friday, Meta rejected the FTC’s claim that its purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp were designed to take out competitors. Meta said it had spent billions of dollars to develop the two properties, which it argued wouldn’t have become as successful without Meta’s support.

“The FTC has no evidence that the acquisition of either Instagram in 2012 or WhatsApp in 2014 harmed competition and consumers,” the company said. “Meta is aware of no court that has ever blocked — let alone unwound — an acquisition on the ground that a different buyer might have emerged and would be preferred by the regulator.”

The antitrust enforcer sued Meta in 2020, alleging the company illegally dominated the US personal social-networking market by buying up emerging rivals. The FTC is seeking a court order to unwind the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, arguing the two deals — which the FTC initially approved — were part of a pattern by Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to eliminate companies as competitive threats.

Judge James Boasberg in Washington initially dismissed the case, saying the agency didn’t offer enough detail to back up its claim that Meta had monopoly power in social networking. He allowed the case to move forward after the FTC revised its complaint in 2021.

Boasberg has yet to schedule a trial in the case.

Meta argued that the FTC’s market definition — personal social networking — is too narrow and leaves out important competitors like Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Bytedance Ltd.’s TikTok and Microsoft Corp’s LinkedIn, among others. At least 184 public companies stated in their securities filings that they compete with Meta, Facebook or Instagram, the company said. 

In depositions that are part of the case, Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder, testified that his company had “no revenues” before its purchase by Meta and hadn’t begun developing a strategy to monetize the service. Most users joined Instagram after discovering the service on either Facebook or Twitter, Instagram’s other co-founder Mike Krieger testified. Being part of Meta allowed Instagram to skip several years of development, Systrom said in his deposition. 

WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton testified that without Meta’s support the app wouldn’t have been able to offer its service for free — before the acquisition, WhatsApp charged a download fee of $1. Acton said the company was “never going to implement” a number of features offered on Facebook, such as suggesting “People You May Know.”

Meta said it has invested more than $1 billion in Instagram since the 2012 acquisition, introducing more than 30 new features and services on the platform. Instagram generated revenues of $32.4 billion in 2021 and estimates of the company’s standalone value are between $80 billion and $100 billion, the company said. 

WhatsApp viewed its primary competitors as other instant messaging services such as Apple Inc.’s iMessage, Google Hangouts, Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Telegram among others. 

The case is US Federal Trade Commission v. Facebook Inc., 20-3590, US District Court for the District of Columbia.

(Updates with additional details beginning in seventh paragraph.)

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