Facebook’s marketplace in EU and UK antitrust reticles
Europe and Britain launched formal antitrust investigations on Facebook (FB.O) on Friday to determine whether the world’s largest social network is using customer data to unfairly compete with advertisers, in a new threat to its model commercial.
The European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority have said separately that they will investigate whether Facebook misuses its vast mine of data, collected from the nearly 7 million businesses that advertise on the Facebook marketplace.
The opening of the first antitrust investigation by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on the world’s largest social network marks her latest fight with one of America’s tech giants. The EU investigation confirmed what a person familiar with the situation told Reuters on May 26. read more
Vestager has imposed more than 8 billion euros ($ 9.7 billion) in fines on the unit of Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google and is also investigating Amazon (AMZN.O) and Apple (AAPL.O ).
Launched in 2016, Facebook’s marketplace is used by 800 million Facebook users in 70 countries to buy and sell items and has been under EU control since 2019.
“We will examine in detail whether this data gives Facebook an unfair competitive advantage, particularly in the online classifieds industry, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with businesses from outside. from which it collects data, ”she said. .
“In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in a way that distorts competition,” Vestager said.
The EU executive will also examine whether the way in which Facebook Marketplace is integrated into the social network constitutes a form of linking which gives it an advantage in reaching customers and excludes competing online classifieds services.
The British CMA has also announced its own investigation into the same issue. Read more
“We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to determine whether its business practices give it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classifieds industries,” said CEO of CMA, Andrea Coscelli, in a statement.
“Such an advantage can make it more difficult for competing businesses, including new and smaller businesses, to be successful, and may reduce customer choice,” he said.
Facebook said it would cooperate fully with the EU and UK investigations “to demonstrate that they are without merit.”
“The marketplace and dating give people more choice, both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents,” the company said in a statement.
Facebook gave in to French pressure on Thursday, offering to provide its partners with clear and objective conditions of access to advertising inventories and advertising campaign data following a complaint three years ago. Read more
The German Cartel Office issued an order in February 2019 to restrict Facebook’s data collection from users, sparking a protracted legal battle that continues.
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