Investigate Facebook for EU, UK and Classifieds competition


London — European Union and UK regulators conduct a double antitrust investigation on Friday to see if Facebook is using data to unfairly compete with rival services to distort competition in the classifieds market. Started

This collaborative effort represents the escalation of European regulators in the fight to curb control of major tech companies. The focus of the study highlights long-standing concerns that data collected from individuals or businesses using the platform will be used to gain an edge over competitors, including the same company.

“Facebook can collect large amounts of data about the activities of users inside and outside social networks and target specific customer groups,” said Marguerite Vestager, Executive Vice President of Competition Policy, European Commission. “Whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage, especially in the area of ​​online advertising where people buy and sell products every day, and in competition with the companies Facebook collects data on. We’ll take a closer look at the location. “

In a simultaneous announcement, the UK Competition and Markets Authority will investigate whether Facebook’s data collection and use gives Facebook an unfair advantage over its competitors who provide sensitive data and online dating services. He said he had started his own research.

“We will continue to work fully to prove that the investigation has no merit,” Facebook said.

“We offer people more choices and both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents,” said Marketplace, Facebook’s advertising service, and Facebook Dating. The company said in a statement.

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commercial Commissions in Washington on April 10, 2018. (Samira Bouaou / The Epoch Times)

The EU’s executive committee, the EU’s premier antitrust law enforcement agency, has announced that Facebook is interested in what users are interested in, based on how rival classified advertising providers advertise their sites to Facebook users. We are considering the possibility of collecting data. The committee is concerned that Facebook will use that data to adjust the Marketplace and beat competing sites.

We’re also looking at whether Facebook’s way of embedding its marketplace in social networks has the advantage of reaching customers and keeping out competing sites in violation of EU competition rules. I will.

The UK competition watchdog is conducting its own research, including investigating whether data from Facebook logins has been misused. This feature allows users to sign in to other websites, apps, and services using their Facebook credentials, which can be a great source of information about their interests.

CMA CEO Andrea Koscheri said at a press conference, “We’ve scrutinized Facebook’s data usage and see if its business practices give it an unfair advantage in the areas of online dating and classified advertising. I’m going to evaluate. “

EU and UK investigations could result in formal prosecution, which is not surprising. Regulators have the authority to impose penalties equivalent to up to 10% of a company’s annual revenue. For Facebook, that’s tens of billions of dollars.

Also on Friday, German competition regulators launched an antitrust investigation into Google’s news showcase licensing platform for publishers. The Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) said it is investigating whether the deal with Google includes “unjustified conditions” for news publishers using the platform, which was launched last fall.