EU Eyeing Facebook for Antitrust Investigation

The EU is closing in on its first formal antitrust investigation with its eyes set on the social media giant, Facebook. The EU has been vamping up its enforcement of regulations with big tech companies in recent years, and the European Commission is reportedly set to open formal antitrust proceedings against Facebook after many long and intensive investigations into the company.

The investigation in question is set to dive into how Facebook allegedly favors Marketplace, the company's own market service, at the expense of other companies that attempt to sell their products via Facebook. Spokespeople from both Facebook and the European Commission declined to comment on reports of the investigation.

The European Commission’s Facebook investigation is part of a new effort to enforce antitrust and crackdown on big tech in Europe and around the world. The Commission has also filed formal charges against Apple recently for allegedly abusing its management of the distribution of music-streaming apps. The European Commission has also filed formal charges against Amazon for using the data it gathers from third-party sellers to compete against them and has been pursuing antitrust investigations into Google for issues related to advertising and its use of data.

Previously in 2017, the EU had fined Facebook for €110 million for misleading officials during the formal review of its WhatsApp acquisition. Facebook has continually been under investigation by the EU over the past year and have sparred over access to internal documents as part of those investigations.

The European Commission’s top antitrust enforcer has simultaneously been promoting a bill that would assist tech rivals in challenging big tech companies. The bill, which is being called the Digital Markets Act, would make platforms that can be designated as “gatekeepers” to avoid any anti-competitive behavior and promotion of their own products over their competitors. The potential fines for noncompliance would reportedly be very steep, up to 10% of their annual revenue.

Facebook has previously stated that they believe there is no wrongdoing and said that the company operates in a competitive landscape and that competition regulators must recognize that use of data is “complicated”.

Source: Brookfield Brief