- The EU and the UK have both launched antitrust investigations into Facebook.
- The EU is investigating whether Facebook gives its classified-ads platform Marketplace an unfair advantage.
- The UK is investigating both Facebook Marketplace and Facebook dating.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The EU and the UK have both opened antitrust investigations looking into whether the way Facebook handles user and advertiser data gives it an unfair advantage in the classified ads space.
The European Commission announced its probe on Friday, which will focus on Facebook Marketplace — a platform which allows people to buy and sell items on Facebook.
“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, enabling it to target specific customer groups,” said European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “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 its press release the European Commission said companies which advertise their services on Facebook provide the platform with valuable commercial data. “Facebook might then use this data in order to compete against the companies which provided it,” the Commission said.
The Commission said that following a preliminary investigation it had concerns that Facebook might make use of data from competing marketplace services that advertise on the social network in order to “help Facebook Marketplace outcompete them.”
The UK’s competition watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also announced its probe on Friday. This investigation will look at both Facebook Marketplace and its dating service Facebook Dating, which launched last year.
“We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices are giving it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified ad sectors,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement.
The CMA said it will be “working closely” with the European Commission in its investigation.
Facebook did not immediately respond when asked for comment by Insider.