Four firms sued Facebook for alleged anti-competitive actions in the U.S. federal court on Thursday, alleging the social network illegally removed developer access to its website to hurt prospective competitors.
The plaintiffs were seeking class action status and unspecified damages, according to a filing for the Northern District of California at the US District Court.
“Facebook faced an existential threat from mobile apps, and while it could have responded by competing on the merits, it instead chose to use its might to intentionally eliminate its competition,” said Yavar Bathaee, a partner at law firm Pierce Bainbridge and co-lead counsel in the case.
The complaint is an escalation of Facebook’s battles with small-scale app developers that had established businesses dependent on their user data access. For some devices, Facebook cut off access as far back as 2012, while still allowing access for others.
Thus, a related lawsuit filed by Six4Three, the maker is now-shuttered bikini photo app. So, it has resulted in thousands of pages of damaging internal emails. Also, the Six4Three case has been identified as unfounded by Facebook.
So, Facebook has not responded to a request from Reuters for comment on the new litigation immediately. The social network is also facing multiple investigations into potential antitrust breaches by regulators around the world.
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