Monday’s statement by the European Commission stated that Meta, parent of Facebook, has been warned by it about its violation of EU antitrust laws. It is allegedly causing distortions in competition on online classified advertising markets and abusing its dominance.
In a preliminary opinion, the Commission stated that it will continue to investigate. If sufficient evidence is presented of an infraction of European Union regulations, it may impose a maximum of 10% on annual worldwide turnover.
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s chief antitrust officer, stated in a statement she was concerned about Meta linking its dominant social network Facebook with its online classified advertising services (called Facebook Marketplace).
She stated that this means Facebook users are forced to use Facebook Marketplace.
Meta denied that its business practices were anticompetitive.
Meta spokesperson Tim Lamb stated that “the claims made by European Commission are unfounded.”
Lamb stated, “We will continue working with regulators to show that our product innovations are pro-consumer as well as pro-competitive.”
According to the Commission, Meta had not only tied its online classified ads service with its social network but also abused its dominant position unilaterally by imposing unfavorable trading conditions on other online classified ads services that advertise on Facebook and Instagram.
It stated that it is concerned about the Meta terms and conditions, which allow Meta to use ads-related information derived from Facebook Marketplace for the benefit and convenience of Facebook Marketplace.
Facebook Marketplace launched in 2016. It is now used to sell and buy items in over 70 countries.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Reuters was informed last month that EU antitrust regulators had brought charges against Meta for its customer data use and its linking of its classified ads service to its social media network.
On Monday, the Commission stated that Meta was threatening competitors using its classified ads service, Facebook Marketplace. This is because Meta might impose “unfair trading terms” on those who want to advertise via its social networks Facebook and Instagram.
In June 2013, the EU Competition Enforcementr opened an investigation into Facebook. It focused on the question of whether Facebook unfairly used advertisers’ data in order to rival them in online classified ads.
The Commission made a separate statement Monday to confirm that it has closed the antitrust probe into Google and Meta online display advertising. It also stated that “a thorough assessment of evidence failed to support its initial concerns”.
The Commission opened an investigation on March 11 to determine whether Meta and Google had agreed to exclude from the marketplace for advertising, a competitor technology to Google’s Open Bidding. This was in violation of EU antitrust laws.