Meta has reportedly been hit with an antitrust lawsuit over its photo social networking software, with the plaintiff, Phhhoto, alleging that Facebook was squeezing business away from its own (defunct) photo app in violation of U.S. federal antitrust laws. The lawsuit was dismissed by a U.S. court on Thursday, local time.
Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the federal district court in Brooklyn, New York, said the plaintiffs failed to file their lawsuit within the four-year window of federal antitrust law for violations and the three-year statute of limitations under the New York State Competition Clause.
The judge said that Phhoto failed to plead sufficient facts in its complaint to explain its failure to timely file a lawsuit against Meta under federal law and that there was no reason to grant the plaintiffs an exception to the statute of limitations.
The court refused to allow the plaintiffs to reamend the complaint and file another lawsuit.
On Thursday, Hausfeld, the law firm representing the plaintiffs, had not yet issued a comment.
In a statement, a spokesman for Meta said the lawsuit is simply untenable.
Phhhoto, which was founded in 2014, reportedly developed a mobile software that creates short videos consisting of five frames that can be played on a loop. Two years before the company was founded, Meta acquired Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing social tool, for $1 billion.
In 2021, Phhhoto filed an antitrust complaint in court, accusing Facebook of “destroying” its own photo-sharing software. In court documents, the company described itself as an innovative company competing with Facebook.
In court, Phhhoto’s lawyers had said that Meta used its control over critical infrastructure to degrade the quality of Phhhoto’s content and the software’s user experience, while misleading and harming consumers.
However, Facebook denied any market competition violations in this case.
It should be noted that Meta is facing multiple lawsuits in the U.S., with several plaintiffs alleging that some of its actions violate U.S. antitrust laws. Among them, the U.S. government’s Federal Trade Commission has also filed a complaint in a Washington court alleging that the company has abused its dominant position in the personal social networking market, and Meta is doing everything it can to defend itself.