Meta's Facebook Marketplace broke competition rules, says EU Commission

Meta's Facebook Marketplace broke competition rules, says EU Commission
EU's Margrethe Vestager. Credit: Nrkbeta / Creative Commons

Meta has breached EU antitrust rules by distorting competition for online advertising, the Commission announced on Monday.

The Commission believes the tech giant has abused its dominant position following an investigation from June 2021.

"Our preliminary concern is that Meta ties its dominant social network Facebook to its online classified ad services called Facebook Marketplace," said EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

"This means Facebook users have no choice but to have access to Facebook Marketplace," she explained.

A significant advantage

The Commission worries that Facebook's Marketplace will push competitors to the side as the platform gives it a "substantial distribution advantage that competitors cannot match."

It added that "Meta unilaterally imposes unfair trading conditions on competing for online classified ads services which advertise on Facebook or Instagram."

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In its initial opinion, the Commission stated that the conditions which let Meta use advertising data from competitors to benefit Facebook marketplace are "unjustified, disproportionate and not necessary" to display advertising services on Meta's platforms.

The Commission's preliminary opinion is a formal step of investigations that the Commission has started into reportedly anti-competitive behaviour. Moreover, it is far from the final verdict as the opinion will not "prejudge" the investigation's outcome.

If the Commission finds there has been an infringement, it can impose a fine of up to 10% of the annual turnover of Meta.

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