MetaBrussels takes a dim view of Facebook Marketplace
The European Commission finds that Meta breached EU rules “by distorting competition in online advertising markets”.
The European Commission, which opened an investigation in June 2021 against Facebook (which has since become Meta), considers on a preliminary basis that Meta “abused its dominant positions”. “Our preliminary concern is that Meta is tying its dominant social network, Facebook, to its online advertising services called Facebook Marketplace,” explained the Commission’s Executive Vice-President for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.
“This means that Facebook users have no choice but to have access to Marketplace,” the commissioner added. The Commission fears that Marketplace competitors will be “crowded out” as this link “gives Facebook a substantial distribution advantage that competitors cannot match”. In its preliminary opinion, the Commission also considers that Meta “unilaterally impose unfair terms of trade on competing online advertising services that advertise on Facebook or Instagram”.
Right of reply
It “concerns that the terms and conditions, which allow Meta to use advertising data from competitors for the benefit of Marketplace, are unjustified, disproportionate and unnecessary for the provision of online display advertising services on Meta’s platforms “.
The communication of these grievances to Meta, which is a formal step in the investigations authorized by the Commission into alleged anti-competitive behavior, “does not prejudge the outcome of an investigation”, specifies the European executive.
The Meta group may examine the documents in the file, respond in writing and ask to be heard to express its observations. If after this step the Commission has concluded that there has been an infringement, it can prohibit the behavior in question and impose a fine of up to 10% of the annual worldwide turnover of the company concerned.