The UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) and the European Commission (“EC”) have both announced antitrust investigations into Facebook today.
The CMA announcement indicates that the investigation will focus on “whether Facebook has gained an unfair advantage over competitors in providing services for online classified ads and online dating, through how it gathers and uses certain data.” In particular, it appears the CMA will be looking into how Facebook has used data gathered through its digital advertising services and through Facebook Login, the single sign-on service which allows consumers to log into other websites and apps with their Facebook login details. The CMA announcement can be found here.
The EC announcement indicates that it is focused on “whether Facebook violated EU competition 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 EC announcement can be found here.
With both investigations sharing a similar focus, it will be interesting to see what approach the two regulators take. The CMA’s announcement indicated that “the CMA will seek to work closely with the European Commission as the independent investigations develop.” However, historically EC antitrust investigations have taken many years; the CMA may be able to act faster.
The investigations follow announcements this year of CMA investigations into Google and Apple, and EC investigations into Amazon and Apple, showing that the regulators are increasingly willing to tackle “Big Tech” head on, even while awaiting enhanced powers, for the CMA through the establishment of the Digital Markets Unit, and for the EC under the EU Digital Services Act.
Preiskel & Co’s Competition and Antitrust team represents Marketers for an Open Web in relation to the CMA’s Google investigation.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Tim Cowen.