Competition regulators from both the European Union and the United Kingdom on Friday opened formal antitrust investigations into Facebook with regards to how it handles advertising data, marking the first major antitrust action against the social media giant in Europe.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, will investigate whether Facebook violated its antitrust laws by using data gathered from advertisers to compete against them in the classified ads business, the bloc announced in a press statement.
In a separate investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority—the U.K.’s antitrust regulator—announced it will examine whether Facebook gained an unfair advantage over competitors in classified ads and online dating businesses, based on how it collects data from users.
While both investigations are independent of each other, the British regulator said it seeks to “work closely” European Commission.
The European Commission noted that its preliminary investigation raised concerns that Facebook may “distort competition” by using data obtained from competing classifieds services that advertise on the social platform, to help Facebook Marketplace outcompete them.
The U.K.’s CMA wants to probe if Facebook has unfairly used the data gained from its advertising business and single login for multiple services—in particular Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Dating.
This is a developing story.