The Federal Trade Commission launched an antitrust lawsuit that claimed that Meta had become a monopoly as a result of its acquisitions of the two messaging apps. A titan wielding enormous fortune over smaller companies, the FTC said, began buying or burying competitors in an effort to block rivals from offering better-quality products to consumers. The FTC claimed that Meta stopped the evolution of consumer preferences for privacy and data protection from becoming the norm. It was the only solution the FTC could come up with. When the FTC approved Meta's acquisitions, they didn't anticipate the damage they would cause.
More than 100 Meta competitors have been subpoenaed by the FTC as part of the investigation into whether Meta has a monopoly. In court, both hope to define how much Meta dominates the market and how negatively it affects its competitors.
Meta wants to demonstrate in court that other companies can compete with it by obtaining confidential trade secrets from its competitors, not to leverage such knowledge and increase its market share. Meta plans to subpoena more than 100 other competitors in order to overcome the FTC's claims.
Meta is asking its competitors for a lot of information, from their best-performing features to the names of their biggest advertisers. The antitrust litigation is turning into a business opportunity for Meta because it wants to see all business receipts.Advertisement
A number of rivals have been subpoenaed. There are more requests that could be made in the coming years.
Nobody wants to give away trade secrets. The only competitor that the FTC named in the antitrust litigation was Snap, which has become one of the most vocal opponents of the subpoenas.
In a court document, lawyers for the company said that Meta wanted to have access to every product and almost every aspect of the company.
"This is the type of information Meta would use to further harm the company," the lawyers said.
The FTC requested information from both Meta and Snap.
Meta has a history of duplicating rival products' features, including its controversial new feature, which dominates its Facebook andInstagram feeds. ByteDance asked Meta to limit the scope of documents requested and prevent their in-house counsel from accessing any documents containing sensitive trade secrets in response to subpoenas. According to court documents, "the vast majority of the documents Meta has requested are not available."
If Meta knew it couldn't act on any information shared, it would be easier for the subpoena to be swallowed. Meta's in-house counsel is not involved in competitive decision-making, and the court had already rejected the same request.Advertisement
The company did not respond to the request for comment.
According to a report today, a California federal court will decide how many documents and trade secrets a company like Meta should have to reveal in order to defend itself against the FTC.
The court is hoping to squash the subpoena in its entirety because it's too broad. Meta is asking Snap to reconstruct almost every decision it has made, according to Snap. Meta doesn't have a need to justify all the confidential commercial information that it demands, according to them. They accused Meta of fishing expeditions with irrelevant document requests, such as seeking information on the FTC's investigation into the disappearing messages feature.
Meta claims that a broad request in a large antitrust case is common and appropriate. It claims that Meta's defense was prejudiced because of delays in producing documents and that Snap is not a disinterested non-party in the antitrust litigation. The legal challenges to Meta's subpoenas from other social media companies seem to corroborate Meta's claims that the industry remains competitive despite Meta's ownership of Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, according to a Meta spokesman.
Christopher Sgro said that Meta competes vigorously with many companies to help people share, connect, communicate or simply be entertained. As a natural step in preparing our defense to the FTC's lawsuit, we have served subpoenas on companies with which we compete or which we believe have other information relating to the FTC's claims.