Facebook Preparing Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple for 'Unfair' Approach to Privacy and Default Apps

Facebook is preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple for alleged anticompetitive behaviour, particularly regarding App Tracking Transparency and iMessage, according to The Information.

Apple vs Facebook feature

The antitrust lawsuit would contend that Apple has abused its power in the smartphone industry by enforcing App Store rules that Apple itself supposedly does not have to follow. Within this, the case would argue rules such as the requirement that developers use Apple's own in-app payment service, make it harder to compete in areas such as gaming, messaging, and shopping.

iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency feature, which allows users to opt-out of being tracked via an on-screen prompt, is believed to be central to Facebook's case. Facebook alleges that the prompts are unfair because they do not appear for Apple's own apps, offering it a competitive advantage. However, Apple's apps do not track users or share data for advertising purposes, so this seems to be a bemusing foundation for the lawsuit.

In addition to App Tracking Transparency, Facebook is expected to focus on Apple's refusal to allow third-party messaging apps to be installed as the default option on iPhones and iPads. The company lobbied Apple to allow users to choose Facebook's Messenger app as the default on iOS instead of iMessage in September last year, and it now claims that Apple disallows other messaging apps to be set as default in an effort to prevent people from switching to competing smartphone brands.

Facebook has also reportedly considered inviting other companies to participate in its prospective lawsuit against Apple. A natural ally would seemingly be Epic Games, which has been embroiled in a legal battle with Apple since Fortnite was removed from the App Store for breaking Apple's rules.

The news appears to be a considerable escalation in tensions between the two companies, which have become increasingly fraught in recent months. For example, in December, Facebook paid for a series of full-page advertisements in national newspapers to berate iOS 14's App Tracking Transparency, saying that it harms small businesses.

During Facebook's quarterly earnings call with investors yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Apple's business is increasingly focused "on gaining share in apps and services against us and other developers." He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."

While Facebook may be seeking monetary damages, the preferable outcome is believed to be significant changes to Apple's platform restrictions and ‌App Store‌ rules. The Information notes that in spite of Facebook's legal preparations, it may yet decide to not bring the case to court.

One factor within this is said to be considerable internal dissent within Facebook itself. Executives are facing "internal resistance" from some employees over the prospect of deepening its public campaign against Apple with a lawsuit. Specifically, some employees are apparently concerned that Facebook is "not a compelling victim," especially given the company's own antitrust cases and mishandling of user data.

Top Rated Comments

BreuerEditor Avatar
41 months ago
I hope this bytes Facebook in the bits. Did I say that out-loud?
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robertcoogan Avatar
41 months ago
Well, Epic can take a rest now. Facebook will play the part of the fool from now on.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
atomwork Avatar
41 months ago
Funny, this coming from Facebook. ?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JungeQuex Avatar
41 months ago
I really don’t think that Facebook realized that the population is against them on this one. Talk about living in an ivory tower. I don’t really care how this effects their bottom line - if they can’t make money without harvesting my data to sell, then they should go out of business.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Manzanito Avatar
41 months ago
Why do people still use facebook?
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Pakaku Avatar
41 months ago

He continued, "so Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own."
Scummy apps like Facebook which infringe on privacy need to be interfered with and kept in check, so good on Apple for being """unfair"""
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Apple Logo Spotlight

Source: Apple to Announce New Products This Week

Sunday March 3, 2024 11:38 am PST by
Apple plans to announce new products with press releases on its website this week, a proven source familiar with the matter told MacRumors. While the products that Apple plans to announce have not been disclosed, there are rumors about new iPads, Macs, and accessories. It is unclear exactly what will be announced this week. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman today reiterated that Apple is planning new...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
Apple MacBook Air 2 up hero 240304

Apple Announces New MacBook Air Models With M3 Chip

Monday March 4, 2024 5:04 am PST by
Apple today announced new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air models with M3 chip, improved external display support, Wi-Fi 6E, and more. Apple says that the new MacBook Air is up to 60% faster than the M1 model and up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. With a faster and more efficient Neural Engine, Apple says that the MacBook Air continues to be "the best consumer laptop for...
iPad Air 12

Gurman: No Apple Event Planned for Upcoming iPads and Macs

Sunday March 3, 2024 5:09 am PST by
Apple does not plan to hold a traditional event to unveil new iPads and Macs, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Instead, he said Apple plans to announce the products on its website with a "series of online videos and marketing campaigns." If this plan is accurate, we can expect the new products to be announced with press releases on the Apple Newsroom website. Gurman expects Apple to...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...