European Commission: Facebook Abuses Power to Promote Marketplace

Facebook is abusing its power to market its advertising platform Marketplace, concludes the European Commission. If that provisional conclusion remains valid, billions of fines threaten Facebook.

Facebook automatically gives its billions of users access to Marketplace, where they can advertise stuff or place classified ads. Whether they are waiting for it or not. The committee says that competing for advertising services such as eBay or Marktplaats can be pushed out.

In addition, Facebook unfairly enforces that it can use data from competitors advertising on Facebook and Instagram to compete with those same rivals. The latter is “unjustified, excessive and unnecessary”, the EU executive says. These contract terms hinder competitors and “only play into the hands of Marketplace”.

The committee’s conclusion is not yet final. Facebook’s parent company Meta will have the chance to defend itself. If it turns out that the American internet company has indeed violated European competition rules, it must fear high fines. These can amount to 10 percent of global annual turnover.

In recent years, European regulators have regularly punished Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple and Meta for violating competition or privacy rules. For example, meta was fined hundreds of millions of euros for violations by daughters Facebook and Instagram. The company itself is said to have already set aside billions for possible new fines.

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