New antitrust suit from Phhhoto alleges Facebook copied and killed the competition

Phhhoto’s experience

A former upstart Instagram rival is suing Meta, formerly known as Facebook, over allegations that the company violated antitrust laws by cloning a competing product and ultimately killing its business.

The app, Phhhoto, launched in 2014, inviting users to create and share short GIF-like videos. If that sounds familiar, that’s because the same functionality was popularized in Boomerang, an app made by Instagram. That feature is now integrated into Instagram’s core app experience.

The newly filed lawsuit, embedded below, alleges that Facebook’s behavior violated antitrust laws by cutting off the app’s access to its social graph, slow-walking a proposed relationship and then eventually releasing its own copy of Phhhoto’s core feature: the seconds-long looping video.

Menlo Park-based lawyer Gary Reback will represent Phhhoto in the suit. Reback is best known for his involvement in setting the stage for the federal government’s successful antitrust case against Microsoft, which ultimately didn’t split up the tech giant but did force the company to open up some aspects of its computing business — consequences that continue to reverberate in the tech industry today.

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