Antitrust Probe Launched Into Facebook by European Commission, UK

A formal antitrust investigation against Facebook has been opened by the European Commission and the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to assess if the online giant violated EU competition rules, the use of data for online classified ads and dating and if an unfair advantage is at play.

The press release quoted by The Wall Street Journal said that the European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess if Facebook violated EU competition rules by using advertising data to compete with them in markets where Facebook is active and whether Facebook ties its online classified ads service ‘Facebook Marketplace’ to its social network, in breach of EU competition rules.

European Commission executive VP Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, emphasized that the Commission would look in detail into if Facebook obtained an undue competitive advantage using the collected data.

Although the EU has long been informally investigating Facebook, the opening of a case is a key procedural step in European competition probes so if the Commission or the CMA, that’s investigating if Facebook has unfairly used the data gained from its advertising and single sign-on to benefit its own services, like Facebook Dating, find evidence of wrongdoing they can then file formal charges.

Facebook Marketplace, introduced in 2016, is used by almost a billion users in 70 countries, and Facebook is accused of using the data it collects from users to undermine its rivals in online advertising.

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