Meta reportedly wants eBay executives to provide evidence and information in its favor to fight back against a federal antitrust lawsuit over two social tools mergers. U.S. e-commerce giant eBay filed a petition with the court to stop Meta from over-reaching its evidence through competitors.
In 2020, the FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Meta alleging that its acquisition of mobile social networking tools Instagram and WhatsApp resulted in an “abuse” of dominant influence in the market for personal social networking services, and the FTC asked the court to allow Meta to sell the two social networking platforms externally.
As a response to the antitrust lawsuit, which will likely go to trial in 2024, Meta is now seeking evidence in its favor from companies in the tech industry and social media space, which it has legally obtained through court subpoenas.
However, some technology companies have objected to Meta’s move, arguing that the information and evidence requested are too broad and even suspect of violating trade secrets.
Last year, Meta issued a subpoena to Sequoia Capital, a famous venture capital firm in the U.S., hoping that the other party would provide relevant evidence, especially the analysis and evaluation of Instagram and WhatsApp before Meta acquired the two major social tools. Sequoia Capital objected to Meta’s subpoena, but the court ruled that Sequoia Capital could not deny Meta’s request for evidence.
The eBay legal team told the court that Meta’s request for evidence was greedy and that the scope of the subpoena for information was staggering, placing a huge workload on other companies.
A spokeswoman for Meta said the company is seeking information and evidence from a number of related companies, primarily those that compete with Meta and those that are involved in the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit.
Meta has objected to the FTC’s lawsuit and allegations. The company raised several objections, including one that challenged the FTC’s stated definition of the “personal social networking services” market.
Counsel for eBay stated that Meta, as a party to this antitrust litigation, failed to consider the boundaries of “reasonableness and propriety” in seeking evidence and information from third-party companies.
Neither eBay, its legal team nor the FTC commented on the report.
The eBay legal team said that eBay is not a competitor to Meta in the social networking marketplace, but that some competition does exist between the two companies in the e-commerce online marketplace on the Facebook platform.
eBay said it has accumulated about 2,500 pages of internal documents in response to Meta’s subpoena request for evidence.
But the company said Meta has not clearly demonstrated that the information requested is necessary and relevant to the FTC antitrust suit, so eBay does not want to be pressured into turning over more confidential business information next.