To avoid more antitrust issues in the UK, Meta limits how it uses advertising data to boost Facebook Marketplace

Facebook parent company Meta has given key assurances to UK antitrust regulators as it seeks to counter concerns about how it uses advertising data to benefit its own products.

The news comes the same week that Meta revealed it was selling GIF platform Giphy for $53 million three years after buying it for $400 million, following a final divestiture order issued by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last October. The CMA also recently blocked Microsoft’s $68.7 billion bid for Activision.

At the heart of this specific problem is how Meta is able to leverage data from its core social network to make content display and recommendation decisions on Facebook Marketplace, an online classifieds service launched in 2016. which allows Facebook users to buy and sell just about anything. . Since Meta may collect information about users’ interests through their online advertising interactions on Facebook, the CMA argues that this gives Meta an unfair advantage by allowing it to display more relevant items in their users’ Marketplace feed – to the detriment of advertisers elsewhere on the platform.

The European Commission (EC) and the CMA announced separate but collaborative efforts investigate Meta on this practice in June 2021, the CMA revealing back in august that he was carrying out an official investigation. The EC followed suit four months later.

Now, however, the CMA has given its first indication that it is ready to drop the case after receiving specific commitments from Meta.

These include allowing advertisers to opt out of having their ad data used to grow Facebook Marketplace, which Meta said it would do by implementing “new technical systems.” In addition to this, Meta said it will train its staff to ensure it does not use advertisers’ data when developing new products for use in the UK market which could compete directly with advertisers. .

“Reduce the risks”

Although the CMA has not yet explicitly accepted these commitments, it has more or less said that it will, and that if it is finally approved, a monitoring agent will be appointed to ensure that Meta meets its commitments.

“Reducing the risk of Meta unfairly exploiting the data of companies that advertise on its platform for its own competitive advantage could help many UK companies that advertise on it,” wrote the chief enforcement officer of CMA, Michael Grenfell, in a report released today. “We are currently consulting on these commitments which we believe at this stage will address our concerns.”

This latest announcement launches a month-long comment period that will end on June 26th. If his preliminary findings are confirmed, this will effectively end the investigation.


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