Meta accused of unfair practices on Facebook Marketplace

The European Commission sent a statement of objections to Meta, accusing it of engaging in anti-competitive behavior in the classifieds sector. He is notably accused of having linked his Facebook social network to his marketplace, on which users can sell and buy goods.

What is reproached to Meta

This approach follows a survey carried out in June 2021 by the European Union; the United Kingdom is conducting a similar investigation on the American giant. At the time, the Commission was investigating whether Meta was exploiting the immense data rate it has access to to boost its Facebook Marketplace platform. While the EU has just delivered its verdict, the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is continuing its investigation.

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The European Commission has informed Meta of its preliminary view that the company breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition in online classifieds markets “, declares the entity in a press release, it accuses two distinct facts to Meta.

Above all, the company is accused of linking its classifieds service to Facebook. It means that “ Facebook users automatically have access to Facebook Marketplace whether they want to or not “. This practice ” gives Facebook Marketplace a substantial distribution advantage that competitors cannot match “.

The Commission also criticizes Meta ” unilaterally impose unfair terms of trade on competing online classifieds services that advertise on Facebook or Instagram “. The EU says to itself Concerned that the terms, which allow Meta to use competitor-derived ad data for the benefit of Facebook Marketplace, are unjustified, disproportionate and unnecessary for the provision of online display advertising services on Meta’s platforms . These terms impose a burden on competitors and only benefit Facebook Marketplace “.

A smartphone open on Facebook.

Photography: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash.

A usual procedure in Europe

The assertions of the European Commission are baseless. We will continue to work with regulators to monitor that our product innovation benefits consumers and competition said Tim Lamb, Meta’s Head of Competition for Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

A statement of objections, or statement of objections, is a standard step in antitrust cases in Europe. In concrete terms, the Commission communicates to the company presumed to be in breach what it is accused of. The latter can then respond with its own objections or comments. If it is proven that the firm’s practices violate European law, the Commission has the power to order it to cease its activities, and can also impose a fine of up to 10% of its worldwide turnover. that is, $11.8 billion in the case of Meta.

This announcement comes as the EU has just reached an agreement with Amazon in a similar case, in which the e-commerce giant was accused of anti-competitive business practices; he agreed to change them to avoid a large fine.

In the United Kingdom, Meta is also the subject of an extensive investigation, led against the company of Mark Zuckerberg but also Google. The two companies are accused of exercising a ” duopoly in the online advertising sector.

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