Facebook reportedly considers hitting Apple with antitrust suit

The social network may allege that Apple abused its power through its App Store rules.

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Sean Keane
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Facebook says it believes Apple is "behaving anti-competitively."

Angela Lang/CNET

Facebook may file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, The Information reported Thursday, alleging that Apple abused its power through its App Store rules. The social network's potential suit apparently says Apple forces outside developers to stick to rules that its own apps don't have to follow.

The report, much of which is behind the outlet's paywall, cites anonymous sources and notes that Facebook may ultimately opt against filing suit. 

The companies have been engaged in a public feud over upcoming privacy changes to the iPhone maker's mobile operating system, iOS -- its App Tracking Transparency feature would require people to opt in to apps collecting their data, instead of needing them to opt out. Facebook, which makes most of its money from ads, views Apple's changes as an attack on personalized advertising.

Facebook didn't confirm plans to file suit, but affirmed its stance on Apple's power over the App Store in an emailed statement.

"As we have said repeatedly, we believe Apple is behaving anti-competitively by using their control of the App Store to benefit their bottom line at the expense of app developers and small businesses," a company spokesperson said.

As Facebook reported its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged in a post that the company sees Apple as one of its "biggest competitors."

"Apple has every incentive to use their dominant platform position to interfere with how our apps and other apps work, which they regularly do to preference their own," he wrote. "This impacts the growth of millions of businesses around the world, including with their upcoming iOS 14 changes, so many small businesses will no longer be able to reach their customers with targeted ads."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.