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EU Commission says Meta breaking rules for online ads

The EU Commission thinks that Meta is breaking the union’s antitrust rules by distorting competition for online classified advertising. Users of Meta’s Facebook automatically also get the company’s online classified ads service, Facebook Marketplace, whether they want it or not. The Commission says, as its preliminary view, that this gives Facebook Marketplace a substantial distribution advantage that competitors cannot match.

The Commission also says that Meta unilaterally imposes unfair trading conditions on competing online classified ads services which advertise on Facebook or Instagram. 

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The Commission is concerned that the terms and conditions, which authorise Meta to use ads-related data derived from competitors for the benefit of Facebook Marketplace, are unjustified and disproportionate. 

“Such conditions impose a burden on competitors and only benefit Facebook Marketplace”, the Commission says.

If confirmed, these practices would break rules about abuse of a dominant market position.

The Commission in June last year opened formal proceedings into possible anticompetitive conduct of Facebook. The Commission’s statement now with preliminary conclusions, is a formal step in Commission investigations into suspected violations of EU antitrust rules. 

If the Commission later concludes that the company has breached the rules, it can impose a fine of up to 10% of the company’s annual worldwide turnover.

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