The European Commission is launching a new investigation into a GAFA. And this time he’s targeting Facebook. More specifically, the Commission will determine whether the number one social network is exhibiting anti-competitive behavior that could put online advertising sites at a disadvantage.
In fact, since the introduction of Marketplace, a platform where users can sell or buy items, Facebook has become a competitor to websites that specialize in this type of advertising. As a rule, however, these pages also use the services of Facebook to gain visibility.
Is Facebook using data in an anti-competitive way?
And the European Commission wants to determine whether Facebook uses collected data about the activities of advertising sites (its competitors) to use Marketplace. As the European Commission explains in a press release: “Facebook could use data from competing providers who advertise their services on Facebook’s social network to help displace Facebook Marketplace. For example, Facebook could receive precise information about user preferences based on the advertising activities of its competitors and use this data to tailor the Facebook Marketplace to requirements. “
“The Commission will also examine whether the way in which Facebook Marketplace is integrated into the social network is a linked offering that gives it an advantage in terms of targeting customers and displaces competing online advertising services,” adds the European Commission .
The British regulator also launched an investigation
But at the moment we do not know the duration of this investigation by the EC on the Facebook marketplace, as there is no legal deadline. In any case, the European Commission could rely on the cooperation with the British competition authority CMA.
In fact, she just started a survey on Facebook’s data usage. And the EC says it wants to work with the British authority, even if the two investigations remain independent.
“We will examine in detail whether this data gives Facebook an unfair competitive advantage, especially in the online advertising industry, where people buy and sell goods on a daily basis and where Facebook also competes with companies from which it collects data. In today’s digital economy, data must not be used to distort competition, ”said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President for Competition Policy. This is a reminder that Facebook is collecting a wealth of data thanks to the 3 billion people and 7 million companies that use the social network.