Daily Management Review

UK Antitrust Regulator To Probe Facebook


UK Antitrust Regulator To Probe Facebook
After launching antitrust investigation into Google and Apple earlier this year, a similar probe is being prepared against the largest social media company Facebook by Britain’s competition regulator within the next few months. That would be the latest event in the efforts of the regulator to rope in the dominance of the Big Tech companies of the world, claimed a recent report by Financial Times.
A detailed examination of the manner in which Facebook allegedly uses customer data to disadvantage its rivals in social media and online advertising will be conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), said the report quoting sources with knowledge of the matter. 
It was just a few weeks ago that the CMA had announced similar investigation into the operations of Apple’s App Store fees and Google’s new privacy settings and this probe against Facebook will be the regulator’s latest salvo against the power of Big Tech after it became a global regulator in its own right this year. 
It is expected that similar ground to Brussels’ own investigation into the social media company would be covered by the investigation of the UK antitrust body. The European Union probe was focused on the Marketplace platform of Facebook. Allegations that that Facebook is distorting the classified advertising market through the service are being probed by the European Commission.
Claims that Facebook is a so-called gatekeeper because of its ability to gather data from its users which it uses to enhance its competitive advantage over its rivals is likely to be examined in the UK probe in addition o also looking at the social media platform’s Marketplace.
Similar concerns about market abuse by Amazon have also been expressed by regulators because Amazon is the owners of its platform as well as uses its own platform to sell its own products.
The report of the regulator on digital advertising would also form the basis of the probe of the CMA, said the report quoting sources within the regulator. That CMA report underscored the “strong incumbency advantage” that benefitted Facebook in areas such as online ads and social media.
The report however said that there can be changes in the timing of the official announcement of the investigation and the exact concerns of the regulator. However according to experts, the intense scrutiny its rivals were facing in the UK have so far eluded Facebook. Therefore the regulators are most likely to actually launch ion investigation against Facebook.
No comments on the issue were available from Facebook and the CMA.
In recent times, the UK regulator is also set to gain extensive powers to reign in Big Tech through a new digital regulator that will be included with the CMA and would be established through a new legislation. Creation and monitoring of tailored codes of conduct for big tech companies will be done by the digital markets unit of the CMA.