A scathing new report tied to an antitrust investigation of social-media giant Facebook details some of the cut-throat tactics the company allegedly used to bully competitors. Those tactics, according to the company’s competitors, included threatening influencers with removal of the coveted blue “verified” check mark that designates high-profile accounts. The Wall Street Journal outlines claims made by Snap Inc. in its “Voldemort Report,” named so for the fictional Harry Potter character, that details excessive bullying to prevent Snap’s Snapchat content from overpowering Facebook-owned content. The report charges that Facebook execs even met with Snap execs and threatened that unless the company sold the app to Facebook for a non-negotiable price they would release their own versions of Snapchat features like filters and labels. Snapchat refused and lost revenue as a result of Facebook’s aggressive tactics.
The report also charges that Facebook bought Onavo, an Israeli mobile-analytics startup, for the primary purpose of spying on Snapchat users by transferring Onavo data to Facebook servers so they could track Snapchat activity. Snapchat eventually encrypted its data to curtail the spying but retaliated by creating a special filter that identifies Snapchat users in all Facebook offices.