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Facebook Accused of Squeezing Rival Startups in Virtual Reality

  • Justice Department asks app developers about Oculus actions
  • “Copy, acquire, kill” accusations echo House report critiques
Attendees use Oculus VR Inc. headsets during the F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California in 2019.
Attendees use Oculus VR Inc. headsets during the F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California in 2019.Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Virtual-reality startups are accusing Facebook Inc. of using a familiar playbook to muscle out rivals in what could be the digital platform of the future -- prompting a new line of scrutiny from U.S. competition enforcers.

Facebook is the world’s biggest virtual-reality hardware maker thanks to its 2014 acquisition of Oculus for $2 billion. Its practices are now drawing the attention of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, which is talking to developers about their interactions with the company, according to two people familiar with the matter.