Facebook Files Reply To Motion To Dismiss In Antitrust Case

Facebook has filed a reply in support of a motion to dismiss an antitrust case brought by Reveal Chat Holdco, originally filed in January. plaintiffs Reveal Chat Holdco et al filed a class action complaint against Facebook accusing the social media platform of antitrust violations. Reveal Chat Holdco owns anonymous chatting and dating app, Reveal Chat, which used users’ social media accounts including Facebook to operate; as a result, it relied on Facebook’s APIs. The other plaintiffs relied on Facebook’s data and its APIs for their respective apps. The suit sought to end Facebook’s allegedly anticompetitive practice, such as cutting off third-parties from using its APIs; Facebook also required other apps to give Facebook their data as part of their agreement.

Facebook argued in the motion that plaintiffs’ claims are time-barred. Specifically, the social media giant said the plaintiffs have not alleged “causal antitrust injury,” and “antitrust injury in the ‘social advertising’ market,” and they lack “antitrust standing to bring their monopolization and attempted monopolization claims,” as well as lacking “antitrust injury to bring their Section 1 claim.” Facebook said they “did not suffer antitrust injury from the acquisitions and integration of Instagram and WhatsApp.” Additionally, Facebook said that plaintiffs “failed to state a claim” because the “product markets alleged are implausible.” The plaintiffs supposedly “fail to state monopolization and attempted monopolization claims,” as well as a Section 1 claim. As a result, Facebook sought for plaintiff’s desired injunctive relief to be dismissed and for their motion to dismiss to be granted.

Facebook said that the plaintiff’s claims fall outside of the four-year statute of limitations. They added that the plaintiffs do not allege injury at the time these acts took place. Instead, the plaintiffs argued that their claims “are timely because of Facebook’s purported fraudulent concealment of facts giving rise to their claims.” However, Facebook states that plaintiff’s “allegations themselves preclude application of that doctrine here.” Facebook states that plaintiffs must show that they did not have knowledge of these facts, “despite their due diligence in trying to uncover those facts.” Facebook states that the “complaint itself establishes that the API withdrawal, as well as the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions were all public knowledge long before January 2016.”

Turning to the claims themselves, Facebook argued that plaintiffs “have not plausibly alleged causal antitrust injury” and their “alleged relevant product markets are invalid” because the withdrawal of Facebook’s API would not “meaningfully injur[e] competition,” noting plaintiffs’ statement that “[a]n app that did not rely on Facebook’s platform could itself become a rival platform with its own social network, and Facebook’s API withdrawal would have no effect on that competitor.” Further, Facebook claimed that plaintiffs do not allege that “they were ever credible entrants into the relevant markets – as opposed to users of Facebook’s data – and thus cannot claim antitrust injury.”

Facebook has sought for the complaint to be dismissed. They are represented by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, while Reveal is represented by Bathaee Dunne.