Facebook Platform Fraud


Styleform IT v. Facebook, Inc., et al., Case No. CGC-18-571075 (S.F. Super. Ct.) is a class action on behalf of developers who were injured by an alleged multi-year fraudulent conspiracy designed, executed, and then covered up by Facebook’s highest-level executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg.  The centerpiece of this scheme was Facebook’s “Platform” for third-party developers, which was first announced in 2007 as a way for developers to build apps and provide services that leveraged Facebook’s social graph.

However, in late 2011, after the rise of mobile devices began to decimate Facebook’s legacy business model, Facebook decided to secretly privatize core Platform functionality, then use the Platform’s impending doom to extort certain developers for advertising purchases and their user data.

Tens of thousands of Platform developers continued to pour resources into the Facebook Platform after 2011, oblivious that Facebook had already secretly decided to cripple core Platform functionality.  Their time and money was wasted when Facebook rolled out Platform 3.0 in April 2015, removing access to key Platform APIs that developers had relied upon to access Friends and News Feed information.

Facebook’s internal decision making process, which revealed its secret agreements with certain developers who retained access to the core APIs and its public deceit as to Platform 3.0, came to light in November 2019 when NBC News published thousands of internal Facebook documents.

Plaintiff’s suit has survived multiple motions on the pleadings and associated appeals and is presently in discovery ahead of a February 2023 trial.

Tags:

Antitrust