Facebook sued for anti-competitive conduct

By Hazel Davis

Companies slam social network for ”brazen and wilful” behaviour

Four companies sued Facebook Inc in the US federal court on Thursday for alleged anticompetitive conduct.

The plaintiffs – companies behind defunct Facebook apps – asked a judge to order Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to give up his majority stake in the social network, claiming it used its power to eliminate competition from mobile apps. The action says it claims to halt the “most brazen, wilful, anti-competitive scheme of a generation.”

Seeking class-action status and unspecified damages, the plaintiffs – Reveal Chat HoldCo LLC, USA Technology and Management Services Inc (known as Lenddol), Cir.cl Inc and Beehive Biometric Inc – say Facebook inappropriately revoked developer access in order to extinguish the mobile threat. The platform opened its platform to developers in 2010 but, the companies claim, got rid of them when it saw them as rivals.

The social media giant has asserted that the claims are “without merit”.

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Facebook is also currently the subject of multiple investigations worldwide into possible antitrust violations. Back in July it was forced to pay a record-breaking $5bn (£3.8bn) as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission – the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for violating consumers' privacy rights. In October, it dropped its appeal against a fine of £500,000 ($643,000, €579,000) for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal but made no admission of liability.

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