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Meta Platforms seeks out secrets from 132 companies to win antitrust suit

Meta's request is "overbroad and abusive," Snap said in court filings

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Snap Inc | Facebook | TikTok

Bloomberg 



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Meta has asked for documents relating to some of the most important and sensitive elements of how competitors do business, according to court filings, including how they acquire users, scale up products and make money from features

To defend itself against the federal government, Meta Platforms Inc. says it needs its rivals to divulge some of their most closely held secrets.

Facebook’s parent company has so far subpoenaed 132 for documents, including Snap, ByteDance’s and the audio startup Clubhouse, and has warned that it may seek information from 100 more. The subpoenas have set off a cascade of legal challenges from Meta’s rivals, which accuse the company of using antitrust litigation as an excuse to dig through their confidential data.

The hunt for information was triggered by the US Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit against Meta in 2020, alleging that the company monopolized the social networking market in part through its acquisitions of and . Meta contests the allegation that it has a monopoly and argues that the market is constantly evolving, with newcomers like and as key examples.

A trial isn’t likely until 2024 at the earliest, but both sides are marshaling evidence for the case.

Kellie Lerner, an antitrust litigator at the law firm Robins Kaplan LLP who isn’t involved in the suit, said Meta’s requests seek “massive amounts of competitively sensitive information.”

Meta has asked for documents relating to some of the most important and sensitive elements of how competitors do business, according to court filings, including how they acquire users, scale up products and make money from features.

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Meta’s request is “overbroad and abusive,” Snap said in court filings.

Meta’s request seeks “materials on every product and nearly every aspect of Snap’s business, with a time range that spans almost Snap’s entire existence,” lawyers for that company said. “Snap should not be forced to hand Meta insiders a competitive playbook.”

“Meta competes vigorously with many to help people share, connect, communicate or simply be entertained,” Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro said.

Other that Meta has subpoenaed include Tinder parent company Match Group, Twitter, Reddit and Oracle.

Meta’s document requests also aren’t limited to US social networking services. It has sought information from Line, as well as Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Group, which owns Viber.

Beyond the scope of the requests, Meta’s rivals say the company’s history of hoarding intelligence on competitors should be considered.


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First Published: Tue, September 13 2022. 21:34 IST

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