Four firms sued Facebook in U.S. federal court Thursday for alleged anticompetitive conduct, saying the social network inappropriately revoked developer access to its platform in order to hurt prospective competitors.
The plaintiffs sought class-action standing and unspecified damages, according to a filing at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“Facebook faced an existential threat from mobile apps, and while it may have responded by competing on the merits, it instead selected to use its might to remove its competitors intentionally,” stated Yavar Bathaee, an associate at law agency Pierce Bainbridge and co-lead counsel in the case.
The filing is an escalation of Facebook’s battles with small app developers that had constructed companies based on access to its private user data. Facebook cut off access for certain apps as far back as 2012, while nonetheless permitting access for others.
1000’s of pages of damaging internal emails have emerged from a similar suit lodged by Six4Three, the developer of a now-closed bikini photo application. Facebook has described the Six4Three case as baseless.
Facebook didn’t answer to a request for comment on the latest suit.
The social network further faces a number of probes into possible antitrust breaches by regulators around the globe.