The American judge has just asked TikTok, WeChat and Telegram for information on their market shares: enough, according to Facebook, to prove the dynamics of competition.
It’s weight support for Meta. U.S. Judge James Boasberg, who is leading the case against the company for abusing his dominant position, has just sent several letters to the group’s competitors, asking them for precise information about their activities and market shares.
Therefore, a message was sent to the Chinese Ministry of Justice regarding two Asian giants: on the one hand, Tencent, responsible for the WeChat mobile messaging app; on the other hand, ByteDance, the parent company of the video aggregator and social network TikTok. Another letter went to the British Virgin Islands: the holding company of the Telegram messaging service is located here.
In those letters, Boasberg emphasized that he wanted to get hold of user data, as well as a presentation to investors and board members. The judge therefore wants to get information about the analyzes these companies have carried out in relation to their competition with Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, which belong to Meti.
Meta has already announced that it has not been able to take over the data for the American branches of its competitors so far, and she asked for the support of the first instance judge to get them directly from their mothers.
In March, the companies involved asked James Boasberg to limit what Meta’s lawyers could see during the trial. Meta offers open access to confidential information to two of its internal advisers, so that they can defend themselves properly. “The target requires an extremely large amount of sensitive material from third parties,” the judge simply admitted.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. competition agency that is the source of the complaint filed against Meta, believes the group’s demands are too high and could disrupt its competitors.
“Many companies that do not compete with Meta in providing personal social networking services can be harmed by leaking confidential information,” she said this spring.
These data could prove to be central in a trial that will have to judge whether Meta abused his dominant position. The assessment of competition was already at the center of the exchange between the judiciary, the FTC and Meta in August 2021: Boasberg then confirmed the procedure initiated by the FTC, believing that “the facts presented this time (…) are firmer and more detailed than before ”. Since Washington repulsed the first FTC attack, in June 2021: the agency was then unable to provide the necessary evidence.
In its second complaint, the FTC estimates that Meta, through Facebook and Instagram, occupies more than 65% of the personal social media market. Another point of tension, successive takeovers of Instagram and Whatsapp: The FTC claims that Mark Zuckerberg’s group “illegally bought or buried new innovators when their popularity made them an existential threat.”
Meta condemns the excessive politicization of the case: the group specifically targets Lina Khan, a lawyer appointed by Joe Biden to head the FTC and who is fighting monopolies.