Break'n News - Facebook hit with new antitrust probes in the UK and EU

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In this photo illustration, the Facebook logo is seen on a smartphone screen with the EU flag in the background.

Chukrut Budrul | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

LONDON — Regulators in the U.K. and the EU launched formal competition investigations into Facebook on Friday.

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said it is investigating whether Facebook is abusing a dominant position in the social media or digital advertising markets through its collection and use of ad data.

Meanwhile, The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said it was opening a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Facebook breached its rules “by using advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order to compete with them in markets where Facebook is active such as classified ads.”

The investigation will also seek to determine whether the link between the main Facebook social network and Facebook Marketplace, its buying and selling service, is in breach of EU competition rules.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president, said in a statement that Brussels will look at whether the data Facebook uses gives it an unfair advantage.

“Facebook is used by almost 3 billion people on a monthly basis and almost 7 million firms advertise on Facebook in total. Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, enabling it to target specific customer groups,” she 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. In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in ways that distort competition,” added Vestager.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.





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