December 25th, 2022 – Presse Agence publishes the analysis of Corinne Khayat, partner of UGGC Avocats specialized in competition law and Pierre Sinquin, associate at UGGC Avocats, on “Meta in breach of competition?“, in the PACA economic and political newsletter.
« The European Commission has issued a statement of objections to Meta, whose flagship product is its social network Facebook, taking the preliminary view that it may have violated European Union rules on anti-competitive practices.
The European Commission believes that Meta has distorted competition in the online advertising markets by linking its online advertising service (Facebook Marketplace) to its personal social network (Facebook). In addition, the European Commission questions the legality of the commercial conditions imposed by Meta on competitors of Facebook Marketplace.
On December 19, the Commission’s press release regarding this case was issued following the “formal procedure” opened by the European Commission on June 4, 2021.
The Commission found that Meta is dominant on the market for personal social networks, which is European in scope, as well as on the national markets for online display advertising on social networks.
By linking its online advertising service to its personal social network, Meta, which was found to be dominant on the relevant markets, automatically gave Facebook users access to Facebook Marketplace. As a result, Facebook Marketplace’s competitors could be foreclosed, as they could not match such a distribution advantage. Such a practice, if confirmed, would be contrary to the prohibition of abuse of dominance.
the Commission is concerned that Meta’s terms and conditions may impose unfair commercial terms on competing online ad services advertising on Facebook or Instagram, as its terms and conditions allow it to use ad data from its competitors for the benefit of Facebook Marketplace.
According to the Commission, these could be “unjustified, disproportionate and not necessary for the provision of online display advertising services on Meta’s platforms”.
However, it should be recalled that the sending of a statement of objections does not prejudice the outcome of an investigation.
For several months, relations between the European Union and Gafam have been tense because Brussels wants to bend the American digital giants on the elements of security, protection of personal data or competitive practices.”
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