The European Commission, in cooperation with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, opened a formal antitrust investigation Friday to find out if Facebook has violated EU competition law.
According to Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, head of EU competition policy, more than seven million businesses use Facebook for their ads. The investigation follows the social media platform’s alleged use of competitor advertising data to advance in the markets in which it operates. The survey also aims to examine whether there are any links between the online classifieds service “Facebook Marketplace” and the platform itself.
EU and UK regulators will assess whether Facebook is using its position to get ahead of its competitors by exploiting commercially valuable data provided to it through the “Facebook Marketplace”. One way to do this is to receive accurate information about user preferences from competitor activities, and then use that information to adapt in order to reach consumers.
In light of this investigation, Vestager stated that, “[I]n today’s digital economy, data should not be used in a way that distorts competition.
If the allegations are proven, there may be potential violations of the articles. 101 and 102 of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). These articles deal with competition rules relating to anti-competitive agreements between companies and abuse of a dominant position.