EU, UK launch antitrust probes on Facebook – The Hollywood Reporter
The European Union and UK unveiled formal antitrust investigations into Facebook’s Marketplace classifieds service on Friday, with Britain also investigating its online dating service.
The social media giant’s investigations, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have been announced by the European Commission, the EU’s antitrust arm and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), saying they will examine whether Facebook uses data collected from advertisers to provide illegal benefits to its own offers.
The EU said its investigation “will assess whether Facebook links its online classifieds service ‘Facebook Marketplace’ to its social network, in violation of EU competition rules.”
European Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Facebook is used by almost 3 billion people every month and almost 7 million businesses advertise on Facebook in total. Facebook collects a vast wealth of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, which allows it to target specific groups of customers. We will examine in detail whether this data gives Facebook an unfair competitive advantage especially in the online classifieds industry, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with the companies it does. collection of data. In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in a way that distorts competition.
The CMA said it will also investigate Facebook’s role in online dating through Facebook Dating, a dating profile service launched in Europe in 2020.
“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 Andrea Coscelli, CEO by CMA. “Such an advantage can make it more difficult for competing businesses, including new and smaller businesses, to be successful, and may reduce customer choice. We will work closely with the European Commission as we each investigate these issues, while continuing to coordinate with other agencies to tackle these global issues. “
A spokesperson for Facebook said its Marketplace and Dating services “operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents. We will continue to cooperate fully with investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit.”