Facebook stated Wednesday that Lina Khan, the recently appointed Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, should resign from any future decisions regarding the agency’s lawsuit against it to disintegrate the social media company.
Facebook ( FB) filed a formal petition with the FTC alleging that Khan’s work as an investigator on Big Tech for the House Judiciary Committee, along with her previous academic work that was critical of Silicon Valley, disqualifies Khan from participating in the antitrust case against Facebook.
Attorneys for Facebook claimed that her past records “would lead any disinterested observers to conclude she has prejudged Facebook’s alleged antitrust liabilities.” The petition stated that Chair Khan’s resignation was necessary to preserve the fairness of the proceedings and ensure impartiality.
The FTC declined to comment.
A federal judge dismissed the FTC complaint claiming that Facebook was illegally maintaining a dominant position. The FTC lawsuit was filed last year prior to Khan’s appointment. It stated that Facebook’s acquisitions, Instagram and WhatsApp, had harmed competition.
Although the judge in the case stated that regulators hadn’t provided sufficient evidence to support its monopoly claims initially, she gave the agency the opportunity to amend and resubmit by July 31. Khan could have her say in the matter by having a second chance.
Facebook’s petition follows an Amazon-like move. Last month, Amazon filed its own recusal letter amid reports that the FTC would examine the acquisition of MGM film studio.
Khan was a key member of the House inquiry into the tech industry. This probe led to a landmark report last year that found that Amazon, Apple, and Facebook hold monopoly power that they have misused at the expense of fair competition. Six bills have been introduced in the House to break up large tech platforms and place new restrictions.
Khan published a Yale Law Journal paper in 2017 that highlighted alleged antitrust violations committed by Amazon. This paper is widely believed to have sparked a national debate on US antitrust law and whether it is enough to hold Big Tech platforms responsible.
Experts in antitrust say that recusal would depend on Khan’s claims regarding each company in the past.