EU and UK open antitrust investigations into Facebook Marketplace

From The Verge: The European Commission and UK regulators have opened antitrust investigations into Facebook over concerns its Marketplace service is unfairly distorting competition for classified ads. Both are interested in whether or not Facebook unfairly used advertising data to compete in the classified ads market, and are collaborating as part of the investigation.

“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, enabling it to target specific customer groups,” the European Commission’s competition head, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement. “We will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage in particular on the online classified ads sector, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with companies from which it collects data.”

In particular, the commission says a preliminary investigation has raised concerns that Facebook may be using data from rival classified ads services that advertise on its platform to compete with them. The commission and UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now carry out in-depth formal investigations to assess these concerns.

In addition to concerns about Facebook Marketplace and classified ads, the UK’s CMA is also investigating Facebook’s dating service on similar grounds.

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