Report: Facebook building antitrust lawsuit against Apple over iOS 14 privacy features

Facebook is reportedly planning to take its long-running battle with Apple to the courts. The Information reports that Facebook has been working with outside legal counsel to prepare an antitrust lawsuit against Apple alleging that the company “abused its power in the smartphone market by forcing app developers to abide by App Store rules that Apple’s own apps don’t have to follow.”

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report explains that Facebook’s lawsuit is likely to focus in part on the changes Apple introduced in iOS 14. This includes the App Tracking Transparency feature, which will launch in the coming months and require users to permit apps to track them.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is attempting to build a broad legal case arguing that Apple’s rules for app developers—which force them to use Apple’s in-app payment service, for instance—make it harder to compete against Apple in areas such as gaming, messaging and shopping

Facebook’s own lawsuit, if it materializes, is expected to focus in part on the most recent major update Apple made to its mobile operating system, iOS 14, which it rolled out in September, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The report cautions, however, that Facebook might not end up filing the antitrust lawsuit against Apple. In fact, Facebook executives are said to be “facing internal resistance” from employees about the gearing up against Apple.

Internally, however, Facebook employees have expressed skepticism over waging a high-profile battle against Apple, according to four people familiar with the matter. Some employees are concerned that Facebook is not a compelling victim, given the company’s own legal issues and past mishandling of user data.

Nonetheless, it shouldn’t necessarily be surprising to see Facebook at least considering the possibility of taking Apple to court. Last month, company offered to help Epic Games in its battle against Apple by providing internal documents.

Facebook and Apple have been engaged in a public battle over privacy for years now. Apple has criticized Facebook for collecting “as much data as possible from users” and pitched its privacy-focused features as a way for it to “stand up for our users” against companies like Facebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook criticized Apple with a full-page ad in US newspapers due to the new App Store guidelines. Just yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg accused Apple of having “incentive to interfere” with Facebook for competitive reasons.

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