At the same time, the U.K said it was opening probes into Facebook’s Marketplace and Dating services hours after Germany’s antitrust watchdog announced a case targeting the Google News Showcase product.
The cases open up yet another front for the world’s biggest tech firms to fight on, as regulators investigate their market power during a pandemic when online commerce and advertising has become far more important to people working from home. Germany is already investigating Facebook and
Opening a formal probe means regulators can start building firm evidence of antitrust violations, a process that can lead to a charge sheet, or statement of objections, and may eventually culminate in hefty fines or an order to change the way a business operates.
Shares of Facebook were up less than 1% to $328.1 at 9:47 a.m. in New York on Friday. The stock has gained about 20.2% this year.
Friday’s move by the
“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond,” said
Online commerce has played an increasingly important part of Facebook’s business during the pandemic as more people are buying goods online.
“Commerce ads continue to do very well and drive a meaningful amount of our overall business,” Facebook Chief Executive Officer
Facebook “will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We are always developing new and better services to meet evolving demand from people who use Facebook.
The U.K.’s antitrust regulator also opened its own probe into Facebook data, looking at both Marketplace and the dating service the company launched in Europe last year.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it planned to investigate whether Facebook abused its dominant position by collecting data from services including its single sign-on option.
The increasingly tech-focused CMA is running an independent investigation, but said it will cooperate with the EU probe. The CMA said its initial investigation including information gathering will run until Feb.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office
The EU investigation mirrors an earlier probe into Amazon by looking at how a so-called digital platform may use data it gathers from companies that use its service to compete against them. The EU commission has been investigating Facebook since 2019. Facebook sought to curb the probe with lawsuits last year to limit what information officials could scoop up.
(Updates with share price in the fifth paragraph)
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