March 30, 2023— A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms Inc, formerly known as Facebook, which alleged that its social media business drove a photo software startup, Phhhoto Inc, out of business in violation of federal antitrust law.

The lawsuit, filed by Phhhoto Inc in 2021, claimed that Meta’s Facebook aimed to “crush” the photo-sharing application, asserting itself as an “innovative nascent competitor.” Phhhoto accused Meta of degrading the quality of its content and app performance and misleading consumers by utilizing its control over critical infrastructure.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn, New York, dismissed the lawsuit, stating that Phhhoto failed to bring its claims within the relevant statute of limitations. Matsumoto emphasized that despite Phhhoto’s extensive complaint, it did not provide sufficient facts to cure the untimeliness of its federal claims. The court also declined Phhhoto’s request to refine its case and file another complaint.

Meta spokesperson termed the lawsuit as “meritless” in a statement. Facebook denied engaging in any anticompetitive behavior.

The dismissal of the lawsuit marks a legal victory for Meta Platforms Inc in its ongoing battle against antitrust allegations. While Phhhoto’s claims were dismissed on procedural grounds, the broader debate around competition in the tech industry continues to evolve, with regulatory scrutiny intensifying on major players like Meta.

For Meta: Aaron Panner of Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick

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