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EU, UK open antitrust probes into Facebook’s use of advertising data

EU, UK open antitrust probes into Facebook’s use of
advertising data 1

The European Commission and the U.K. Competititon and Markets Authority have both opened antitrust investigations into how Facebook uses data from advertisers to compete with them.

Brussels is focusing its investigation on how Facebook uses the data for its “Marketplace” service, where Facebook users can buy and sell goods from each other. London is not only probing Facebook’s Marketplace, but also how it uses the data for Facebook Dating — the dating profile service it launched in Europe in 2020.

“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users,” EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said. “We will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage.”

U.K. competition chief Andrea Coscelli said: “Any such advantage can make it harder for competing firms to succeed, including new and smaller businesses, and may reduce customer choice.”

“We will be working closely with the European Commission as we each investigate these issues,” Coscelli added.

Facebook said it will “continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit.”

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“Marketplace and Dating offer people more choices and both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents,” the company said.

The European Commission previously opened antitrust investigations into Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Apple. This is the first formal investigation into the social network company.

A person familiar with the matter previously told POLITICO that Brussels started probing the Facebook Marketplace following a complaint from a “Scandinavian media group.”

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