Executives of a now-defunct photo app filed an antitrust complaint against Facebook on Thursday alleging the company schemed to end their company.
The complaint, filed by executives of a start-up image app called Phhhoto, alleges that Facebook employed anti-competitive business tactics to throttle the smaller company after it refused a business deal with the tech giant. Specifically, the suit alleges that Mark Zuckerberg personally downloaded the app, approached Phhhoto for a partnership and later pursued a campaign against the start-up after no deal materialized.
“Facebook and Instagram embarked on a scheme to crush Phhhoto and drive it out of business,” the complaint reads, alleging that Facebook copied Phhhoto’s technology.
The complaint alleges that Instagram denied Phhhoto interoperability, or the ability for its software to interface with that of Instagram, as a way of throttling its growth. Phhhoto also argues that Facebook suppressed its content within the tech giant’s platforms.
“Phhhoto failed as a direct result of Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct,” the complaint reads. “But for Facebook’s conduct, Phhhoto was positioned to grow into a social networking giant, similar in size, scope, and shareholder value to other social networking and media companies with which Facebook did not interfere.”
The complaint is the latest in a series of legal headaches for the tech giant, which rebranded itself as Meta last month.
Facebook currently faces two antitrust complaints, one filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the other by state attorneys general, alleging the company holds a monopoly in social networking and that its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp were unfair. The company is also under government investigation due to documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.
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