Facebook Accused Of Breaking Antitrust, Anti-hacking LawBy: Drew Bowling - March 20, 2012
Facebook’s initial public offering is approaching so as the company stands to increase exponentially in wealth, one recalls a familiar maxim concerning the trials of tribulations of wealth: mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Facebook must really be feeling the sting of those words in 2012 but the legal tides aren’t ebbing just yet. paidContent picked up a story earlier today in which the maker of PageRage, a provider of customized Facebook profile layouts via browser application, charged that Facebook quashed marketing competition by pressuring advertisers to quit using PageRage.
Sambreel, the maker of PageRage, alleges that although Facebook was encouraging of the browser extension at first, the social networking site’s sentiment began to change for the worse once the success of PageRage was becoming evident, so much so that PageRage was becoming a formidable supplier of ad impressions. The legal complaint states that rather than accept Sambreel as an advertising competitor, “Facebook pursued an anticompetitive scheme designed to eliminate Sambreel as a competitive threat.”
One notable section that could have an effect on Facebook’s other legal fights concerning wiretapping laws cites Facebook’s practice of secretly scanning users browsers:
Without their knowledge or consent, Facebook scanned the browsers of consumers who logged on to Facebook to discern whether the consumers had downloaded PageRage. Facebook then required users who had downloaded PageRage to remove the entire Yontoo Platform from their computers (thereby disabling all Sambreel products, including not only PageRage but also products used on other websites) before they were allowed to login to Facebook. Consumers were required to certify that they had removed the Yontoo Platform before they could access Facebook.
Below is the full legal complaint obtained by paidContent: