San Francisco, September 23: Some Facebook competitors like Snap are reportedly helping the US FTC as it launches an anti-trust investigation into the social networking giant's business practices. According to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday, Snap which is the parent company of Snapchat, has created a dossier under "Project Voldemort" that apparently contains Facebook secrets. "The files in 'Project Voldemort' chronicled Facebook's moves that threatened to undermine Snap's business, including discouraging popular account holders, or influencers, from referencing Snap on their Instagram accounts," the report claimed.
Snap and Facebook share a bitter history, with the latter copying several of Snapchat-first features into its Instagram and other products. From launching "Camera Effects Platform" to encourage augmented reality (AR) effects -- a move reported by The New York Times as Facebook's "brazen heist" over Snapchat - to adding Snapchat-style "Stories" and camera special effects in all its core social apps: Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, The Mark Zuckerberg-run company has done it all. Facebook to Make All Your Photos And Messages Public? Fake Post Resurfaces, Here's The Truth.
It is Snapchat which has popularised animated AR selfie masks and facial filters. Facebook has also added Geostickers to Instagram, offering location-specific tags in two cities (New York City and Jakarta) that users can paste over images. Snapchat launched Geofilters back in 2014.
Originally launched by Snapchat, the "Stories" feature shows photos and videos shared in chronological order that disappear after 24 hours. Facebook introduced something similar in its app Instagram. Today, Messenger, WhatsApp and the main Facebook app have all added "Stories" feature (In WhatsApp, it is called 'Status').
According to the WSJ, the FTC has made contact with dozens of tech executives and app developers. In a historic judgment, the US FTC in July slapped a massive $5 billion fine on Facebook over users' privacy violations in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, along with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) directing the social networking platform to pay $100 million penalty for making misleading disclosures regarding the risk of misuse of user data.
Democrat Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon is even demanding jail term for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying he should face serious consequences for letting his social media platform misuse consumers' personal data.