Meta Antitrust Judge Backs TikTok, WeChat, Telegram Data Request
Meta Platforms Inc. won a judge’s backing to obtain information from ByteDance Ltd’s TikTok, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat and Telegram Group Inc. to bolster its defense against an antitrust lawsuit by the US Federal Trade Commission.
US District Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday wrote letters to China’s Ministry of Justice seeking help with getting documentary evidence from Tencent and ByteDance, and sent a separate letter to officials in the British Virgin Islands concerning Telegram.
Boasberg explained in the letters that he wants user data and communications or presentations to executives and board members examining competition between the companies’ apps and Meta’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms.
Meta had told Boasberg that it needs data on each company’s user base and market share to defend itself against the FTC’s suit, which alleges Meta monopolized the personal social networking market and seeks to force it to spin off its Instagram and WhatsApp units. Efforts to obtain the information from the US units of the companies were unsuccessful, Meta said.
The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant had asked the judge to issue orders that would allow it to officially seek evidence from outside the US.
The FTC’s suit was initially thrown out by Boasberg, who said the agency didn’t clearly explain how it determined Facebook’s market share. The FTC then filed a revised version of the complaint last summer that the judge ruled in January could proceed.