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I'm a Website developer and this question is about Twitter Player Card.

For most websites, Twitter cards are not shown expanded on the feed. Indeed a link on the bottom right of my tweet that reads 'View details' (or 'view photo', or others depending on the card type). For big Websites like SoundCloud, Reverbnation Vine etc. is totally different, as you can see down below in the picture.

My question:

Isn't it an antitrust violation to facilitate in this way only some websites at the expense of others?

What my small website looks like on timeline:

Twitter card for normal website

And what SoundCloud looks like:

Twitter card for SounCloud

This facilitate enormously big companies at the expense of others, everyone wants to share with SoundCloud not with anything else it seems pretty obvious.

Do you think there are requirements to proceed with a class-action?

  • Not at all. It depends on how the Tweet was composed by the app that composed it. If only a link is entered, then you won't get the large view. If you add a link and also upload an image, then the image version is shown. It's not determined by Twitter, it's determined by the Twitter user who composed the Tweet (or the software they used to compose the Tweet). – Peter K. Nov 25 '15 at 14:11
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    @PeterK. do you know about Twitter player card? – NineCattoRules Nov 25 '15 at 18:49
  • @Simone are you aware if there is an interface that allows smaller websites to create such a card, does Twitter have an official policy on card creation. I think you should first ask on a more website developer oriented SE if websites can make custom "cards" – Viktor Nov 25 '15 at 21:26
  • @Viktor I'm here because I'm a developer. Twitter doesn't allow all websites do the same thing, for this reason I think there is an antitrust-law violation – NineCattoRules Nov 26 '15 at 9:01
  • I added a united-states tag since Twitter is headquartered in the US and any antitrust suit would likely take place there. – Pat W. Nov 27 '15 at 13:47
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+100

tl;dr: It seems doubtful an antitrust claim would succeed.

Twitter would likely file a motion to dismiss under Fed. Rules. of Civ. Pro 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To your benefit, the judge would tend to construe all of your factual allegations as true (i.e. that Twitter excludes some websites but not others). Then, given this construction it would ask whether your claim is "plausible on its face," where plausibility means "pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007).

Note, in this second step, we're not only looking for factual sufficiency, but also legal sufficiency. The antitrust claim would likely falter for lack of legal sufficiency.

Your legal sufficiency would need to come from an alleged violation, so say you alleged an antitrust violation under Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 1-7, amended at 12-27). In this case, you'd want to show 1) an agreement 2) that unreasonably restrains competition and 3) impacts interstate commerce.

If there isn't an agreement (e.g. Twitter just chooses to plug SoundCloud), that makes antitrust success even less likely, so imagine you were able to show evidence of an agreement. Then the trouble would be showing this is an unreasonable restraint of competition. Antitrust is a really complicated field, but the short version is: partnership and product placement agreements aren't necessarily violations of antitrust law---especially when the companies aren't in the same market. While there certainly differences, your question is similar (from a legal concepts perspective) to the one LetsListen informally made with respect to Facebook.

Aside: another issue is that a Twitter--SoundCloud collaboration isn't a within-market merger, which means the usual antitrust analysis in the Horizontal Merger Guidelines doesn't translate perfectly.

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This is likely not a law question: the developer has probably not had their player card WHITELISTED by twitter. Twitter has a mechanism to protect their users, by which embedded players have to pass a validation (to make sure it isn't malicious, etc.)

This is not a mechanism to advantage certain users/sites over others, it's a mechanism to prevent malicious content.

  • I can't downvote (not enough rep)...of course is already WHITELISTED. Sorry but is evident that you wrote an answer without have any knowledge about Twitter cards – NineCattoRules Nov 26 '15 at 18:21
  • ...and how exactly is that evident, @Simone? You seem to have left out some very important details, such as whether you'd done the whitelisting stage. How am I to assume that "of course is already Whitelisted?" – dwoz Nov 26 '15 at 19:33
  • How many years old do you have for downvote my question out of spite? It's evident that my website is WHITELISTED from the first picture of my question – NineCattoRules Nov 26 '15 at 22:04
  • @Simone, it may be evident to you, but to someone who isn't familiar with the finer details of Twitter's user interface, it isn't. – Mark Nov 27 '15 at 1:44
  • @Mark if you don't know what you're talking about is better don't talk at all. And thanks for downvote, it's really useful – NineCattoRules Nov 27 '15 at 10:17

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