Why does Facebook want Lina Khan to recuse herself?

Facebook is asking the FTC Chair, Lina Khan to recuse herself from the ongoing antitrust lawsuit because of her prejudice, which is reportedly informed by her previous work.

On Wednesday, 14 July 2021, Facebook filed a petition to have the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair, Lina Khan recused from the ongoing antitrust lawsuit that the agency brought against the company.

In its petition, Facebook argued that Khan has consistently made public statements that accuse the company of conduct that constitutes a violation of antitrust law.

Facebook reportedly went on to say that Khan’s previous work is a clear indication that the Commission Chair has an existing bias about Facebook’s liability in the pending antitrust case.

Facebook’s petition reportedly follows after Amazon sought Khan’s recusal from antitrust probes into the business. Amazon reportedly based the recusal on Khan’s past criticism of the retail giant’s power. Amazon’s plea was partly based on Khan’s famous publication, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”, which was published in the Yale Law Journal in 2017.

In the article, Khan argued that the unique business models of digital giants, like Amazon, should be evaluated with a more extensive framework for antitrust laws. Khan further argued that digital giants should be measured against popular consumer welfare standards, which often lean heavily on whether prices increase or not for consumers. According to Khan, the new framework could help understand why a platform that prioritises growth would engage in exploitative pricing.

Furthermore, in Facebook’s petition, the social media and networking service said it agreed with Amazon’s arguments for requesting the recusal, and also cited past cases where commissioners were recused for prejudgment. The cases included Cinderella Career & Finishing School v FTC, where the court said a chair’s refusal to recuse himself was an infringement on due process.

Lastly, in response to the allegations against her, Khan said she did not have any financial conflicts that could be grounds for recusal in the cases involving the companies. She reportedly added that she will follow the facts where they lead her.