Meta has breached EU’s antitrust rules for benefitting its Facebook Marketplace by “distorting competition in the markets for online classified ads”, the European Commission said in a press release on December 19. The commission also raised concerns that “Meta is imposing unfair trading conditions on Facebook Marketplace’s competitors for its own benefit”. Meta offers an online classified ads service called ‘Facebook Marketplace’ allowing users to conduct businesses on the platform. The commission accused Meta of tying Facebook Marketplace to Facebook, which is a personal social network platform for its users. The Commission laid out its ‘Statement of Objections’ over Meta’s practices, which means it has formally initiated investigation into a suspected violation of EU’s antitrust rules. Meta can be fined up to 10 percent of the company’s annual worldwide turnover if sufficient evidence of misconduct is proved. Background of the case: In June 2021, the European Commission had initiated formal proceedings against Facebook Ireland Limited and its parent company Facebook Inc for a “potential breach of EU competition rules”. The investigations were into Facebook Marketplace’s tie up with Facebook’s social platform and a potential exploitation of competitors’ data for online classified ads by Facebook at least since January 2015. According to the case file, initiation of proceedings was based on Article 11 (6) of the Antitrust Regulation and Article 2 (1) of its implementing Regulation. What did the Commission say? In its preliminary findings, the Commission notes that Meta is dominant in the markets of online display ads and has…
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