Brussels: The European Union and the United Kingdom launched a parallel competition investigation on Friday to investigate whether Facebook uses advertiser data to unfairly dominate the online classified advertising market.
The American social media giant sells classified ads on its Marketplace service, but also collects data from commercial advertisements, which may give it an unfair advantage-the company claims this accusation is “baseless.”
Investigators will also investigate whether Facebook’s single user login allows it to unfairly use data collected through its social media, dating apps and advertising platforms.
Cases opened by the European Commission and the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are separate, but regulators are working closely together.
“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond,” EU vice-president and competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.
“We will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage in particular on the online classified ads sector, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with companies from which it collects data,” she said.
“In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in ways that distort competition.”
A Facebook spokesperson responded in an email: “We will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit.
“We are always developing new and better services to meet evolving demand from people who use Facebook. ‘Marketplace’ and ‘Dating’ offer people more choices and both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents.”