EU and UK launch first antitrust investigation on Facebook in Europe | EU News

The European Commission said it will investigate whether Facebook abused the large amount of data collected from advertisers to compete with them in classified ads.

Facebook Inc. is facing the first in-depth investigation by European regulators, which is the latest in a series of efforts to combat the dominance of large-scale technology markets across the European continent.

The European Commission said it will investigate whether Facebook abused the large amount of data collected from advertisers to compete with them in classified ads. It will also check whether the company unfairly associates its small Marketplace advertising service with social networks.

At the same time, the United Kingdom stated that it is investigating Facebook’s Marketplace and dating services hours after the German antitrust regulator announced a case against Google News Showcase products.

These cases opened up another frontier for the world’s largest technology companies as regulators investigate their market power during the pandemic, and online commerce and advertising have become more important for people working from home. Germany is already investigating Facebook and Amazon, while France is investigating the advertising practices of Google and Apple.

Initiating a formal investigation means that regulators can begin to establish definitive evidence of antitrust violations. This process may lead to fee schedules or objections, which may eventually lead to huge fines or order changes to the way the company operates.

At 9:47 am New York time on Friday, Facebook shares rose less than 1% to $328.1. The stock has risen about 20.2% this year.

The EU’s action on Friday is the first time that the case has been escalated to Facebook’s behavior outside the preliminary stage. Prior to this, there were other high-profile cases against Google, Apple and Amazon. The European Union has previously fined Facebook for failing to provide correct information in the merger review of the WhatsApp acquisition.

Margrethe Vestager, head of EU competition affairs, said: “Facebook collects a lot of data on its social networks and other user activities.” She said that EU regulators “will study in detail whether these data are Facebook has brought an undue competitive advantage, especially in the field of online classifieds where people buy and sell goods every day.”

During the pandemic, as more and more people buy goods online, online commerce has played an increasingly important role in Facebook’s business.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings call in April: “Commercial advertising continues to perform well and has contributed to the significant growth of our overall business.” He said that there are now more than 1 billion people every month. Visit Facebook Marketplace.

The company said in an email statement that Facebook “will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation to prove that they are unfounded.” “We are always developing new and better services to meet the changing needs of Facebook users.

The UK’s antitrust regulator also launched its own investigation into Facebook data, investigating the Marketplace and the company’s dating service launched in Europe last year.

The Competition and Markets Authority said it plans to investigate whether Facebook abused its dominant position by collecting data from services including single sign-on.

The CMA, which is increasingly concerned about technology, is conducting an independent investigation, but said it will cooperate with the EU’s investigation. The CMA stated that the preliminary investigation, including information collection, will continue until February.

The German Federal Cartel Office said on Friday that it is reviewing the Google News Showcase to check whether its terms provide “unreasonable conditions” to publishers. The move is the latest in a series of attacks on large technology companies by Andreas Mundt, the head of German antitrust.

The European Union’s investigation reflects an earlier investigation of Amazon by studying how the so-called digital platform uses data it collects from companies that use its services to compete with them. The European Commission has been investigating Facebook since 2019. Facebook tried to curb investigations through a lawsuit last year to limit the information that officials can obtain.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang