Fb hit with new antitrust investigations in UK and EU

In this photo illustration, the Facebook logo can be seen on a smartphone screen with the EU flag in the background.

Chukrut Budrul | SOPA pictures | LightRocket via Getty Images

LONDON – Regulators in the UK and the EU on Friday simultaneously launched formal competitive investigations against Facebook, marking a rare coordinated investigation by a major US tech company.

The UK Competition and Market Authority is investigating whether Facebook is abusing a dominant position in the social media or digital advertising markets by collecting and using advertising data.

The CMA said it will investigate whether Facebook has unfairly used the data from its advertising and single sign-on option, known as Facebook Login, to power its Facebook Marketplace buying and selling platform as well as its online dating service Facebook to use partner search.

Andrea Cocelli, CEO of the CMA, said in a statement: “We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices give it an unfair advantage in online dating and classifieds.”

He added, “Such an advantage can make competing businesses, including new and smaller businesses, more difficult to succeed and limit customer choice.”

Meanwhile, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has announced that it is launching a formal antitrust investigation to determine whether Facebook has broken its rules “by using advertising data, particularly collected by advertisers, to compete with them in markets on which Facebook is active “. like classifieds. “

The investigation should also determine whether the connection between the main social network Facebook and the Facebook Marketplace violates EU competition rules.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, said in a statement: “Facebook is used by nearly 3 billion people every month and nearly 7 million companies advertise on Facebook. Facebook collects huge amounts of data about the activities of the users of its social network and beyond in order to address specific customer groups. “

“We’ll look in detail to see whether this data gives Facebook an unjustified competitive advantage, especially in the area of ​​online classified ads, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with companies from which it collects data Used in a way that distorts competition, “added Vestager.

Big tech companies around the world face increasing scrutiny as their products continue to affect the lives of billions of people. The European Commission has launched investigations against Amazon, Google and Microsoft in recent years, while the CMA has also launched investigations against Google and Apple since it became a separate regulator in January after the UK left the EU.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “We are constantly developing new and better services to meet the growing demand from Facebook users. Marketplace and dating give people more choice and both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large established sellers. We will continue to work together. “Wholeheartedly with the investigation to prove that it is unfounded.”

The Facebook share closed on Friday by 1.3%.

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