Saturday, June 5, 2021

UK, EU investigate Facebook over data breach -

Market competition regulators from Britain and the European Union (EU) have launched investigations into Facebook's use of data respectively, the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Friday.

The probe is targeted into whether Facebook has gained an unfair advantage over competitors in providing services for online classified ads and online dating, said the CMA, an independent non-ministerial department, in a statement.

The CMA will look into whether Facebook has unfairly used the data gained from its advertising and single sign-on to benefit its own services, in particular Facebook Marketplace -- where users and businesses can put up classified ads to sell items -- and Facebook Dating -- a dating profile service it launched in Europe in 2020, said the CMA.

The British regulator will work closely with the European Commission, which has also launched its own investigation into Facebook's use of data, said the statement.

"We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook's use of data to assess whether its business practices are giving it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified ad sectors," said Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA.

Coscelli added that any such advantage can make it harder for competing firms to succeed, including new and smaller businesses, and may reduce customer choice.

"We will be working closely with the European Commission as we each investigate these issues, as well as continuing our coordination with other agencies to tackle these global issues," said Coscelli.

The watchdog said it is only the start of the CMA's investigation, "no decision has yet been made on whether Facebook has broken the law".

This is the third investigation into a suspected breach of competition law the CMA has opened recently in digital markets. It is also investigating Google's privacy sandbox and Apple's AppStore, the statement said.

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