UK, European Commission launch polls on Facebook data use
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission have launched investigations into Facebook’s use of data for online classifieds and dating, and whether an unfair advantage is stake.
The social media giant collects data from its digital advertising services – which allow other businesses to advertise to Facebook users – and its single sign-on option, Facebook Login, which offers people the ability to log into other websites, applications and services using their Facebook login information.
The CMA is investigating whether Facebook has unfairly used the data obtained through its advertising and single sign-on for the benefit of its own services, in particular the Facebook Marketplace, where users and businesses can post classified ads to sell items, and the dating service Facebook Dating.
The CMA will work closely with the European Commission as the investigations develop.
Andrea Coscelli, Managing Director of CMA, said: “We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices give it an unfair advantage in the online dating industries. and classifieds.
“Such an advantage can make it more difficult for competing businesses, including new and smaller businesses, to be successful, and may reduce customer choice,” Coscelli said. “We will work closely with the European Commission as we each investigate these issues, and continue to coordinate with other agencies to tackle these global issues.”
Coscelli stressed that “no decision has yet been made as to whether Facebook has broken the law.”
“Facebook is used by nearly three billion people each month, and nearly seven million businesses advertise on Facebook in total. Facebook collects a vast wealth of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, which allows it to target specific customer groups, ”said European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy. “We will examine in detail whether this data gives Facebook an unfair competitive advantage, particularly in the online classifieds industry, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with businesses from outside. from which it collects data. “
“In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in a way that distorts competition,” Vestager added.
In April, the CMA set up regulator The Digital Markets Unit to “oversee plans to give consumers more choice and control over their data, to promote competition online, and to crack down on unfair practices that can often leaving businesses and consumers with less choice and more expensive products. And services. “
This is the third investigation into an alleged infringement of competition law that the CMA has recently opened in digital markets. It is also investigating Google’s “privacy sandbox” and Apple’s AppStore.