EU accuses Meta of competition breaches with Facebook classified ads

The European Union has accused Facebook parent company Meta of breaching regulations by distorting competition in the online classified ads business.

The EU’s executive commission said it “takes issue” with the tech company tying its online classified ad business, Facebook Marketplace, to Facebook.

That means Facebook users automatically have access to Marketplace “whether they want it or not”, the European Commission said.

The commission, the 27-nation bloc’s top competition enforcer, said Meta also imposes unfair trading conditions on competing online classified ad companies that advertise their services on Facebook or Instagram.

Companies that breach EU competition rules can be hit with fines worth up to 10% of their annual global revenue.

Meta disputes the allegations.

Meta sign
The firm disputes the allegations (Brian Lawless/PA)

Tim Lamb, Meta’s head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) competition, said: “The claims made by the European Commission are without foundation.

“We will continue to work with regulatory authorities to demonstrate that our product innovation is pro-consumer and pro-competitive.”

The company said it will study the complaints and is fully cooperating with the Commission’s investigation.

When the EU and Britain last year opened twin investigations into the company’s classified business, the bloc’s competition watchdog said it suspected Facebook of collecting “vast troves of data” on its users’ activities that enabled it to target specific customer groups.

If confirmed, the practices would be in breach of EU rules that prevent “abuse of a dominant market position”.

The commission said its preliminary finding is that Meta dominates the EU’s social network market as well as the online display advertising on social media in the bloc’s national markets.

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