Seven large tech companies — Snap, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Oracle and Match Group — are asking a judge to limit Meta's access to "millions" of confidential documents, which Meta has subpoenaed as part of its antitrust fight with the FTC.
Meta has sought the documents apparently in hopes that they will help build the case that Meta does have competitors in the social networking space, contrary to the FTC's claims. But in a new legal filing, the companies that have received those subpoenas argue Meta has gone too far and that answering the subpoenas would, in some cases, require handing over "millions of documents" that contain sensitive information Meta can't be trusted with.
"In a lawsuit that alleges Meta misused data, Meta’s subpoenas create a dangerous risk of further misuse," the filing reads.
The scope of the documents Meta is seeking is extraordinarily broad. One example cited in the filing asks for “All Documents referring or relating to the Company’s strategy to acquire new users for, monetize, and scale each of its Products."
The companies are asking the judge to allow them to mark entire documents as confidential, as opposed to individual pages, and to prevent Meta's in-house counsel from accessing highly confidential documents unless there is a "particularized need." The companies also want any of Meta's in-house lawyers who do access their confidential information to be prohibited from "competitive decision-making" for two years.
At least part of the FTC's case relies on Facebook's acquisition of Onavo, a VPN that gave Facebook a bird's-eye view of the competitive landscape and potential acquisition targets. Onavo data played an important part in Facebook's decision to acquire WhatsApp.
"It would contravene the purpose of this lawsuit to allow Meta liberal access to confidential information that it could use, even inadvertently, to disadvantage competitors, gain unfair advantage in negotiations, and harm consumers," the companies argue.