Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has given assurances to U.K. antitrust regulators regarding concerns over its use of advertising data to benefit its own products. The issue at hand is how Meta leverages data from its core social network to make content display and recommendation decisions in Facebook Marketplace, an online classifieds service launched in 2016. The Competition and Markets Authority (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 CMA and the European Commission (EC) announced separate but collaborative efforts to investigate Meta on this practice in June 2021, with the CMA revealing back in August that it was proceeding with a formal investigation. Now, however, the CMA has given its first indication that it is prepared to drop the case after receiving specific commitments from Meta. These include allowing advertisers to opt-out of their advertising data being used to develop Facebook Marketplace, which Meta said it will do through implementing “new technical systems.” On top of that, Meta said it will train staff to ensure that they don’t use advertiser data when developing new products for use in the U.K. market that may be in direct competition with advertisers.
“Reducing the risk of Meta unfairly exploiting the data of businesses who advertise on its platform for its own competitive advantage could help many U.K. businesses who advertise there,” the CMA’s director of enforcement Michael Grenfell wrote in a report published today. “We are now consulting on these commitments which we believe, at this stage, will address our concerns.”
This latest announcement kickstarts a month-long consultation period which will close on June 26. If its provisional findings are upheld, this will effectively end the investigation.
In addition to this development, Meta has also announced that it is selling GIF platform Giphy for $53 million, three years after buying it for $400 million, following a final divestment order issued by the CMA last October. The CMA also recently blocked Microsoft’s $68.7 billion bid for Activision.
Meta has been under increasing scrutiny from regulators around the world over its business practices, particularly with regards to data privacy and antitrust concerns. The company has been accused of using its dominant position in the social media market to stifle competition and unfairly advantage its own products and services.
The company has responded to these concerns by making a number of commitments and changes to its business practices. In addition to the commitments made to the CMA, Meta has also announced plans to create an independent oversight board to review content moderation decisions, as well as investing heavily in new privacy features and tools.
Despite these efforts, however, Meta continues to face criticism from both regulators and the public. The company’s dominance in the social media market has led many to call for greater regulation and oversight, with some even calling for the company to be broken up.
As the company continues to navigate these challenges, it remains to be seen how successful its efforts will be in addressing the concerns of regulators and the public. However, with its latest commitments to the CMA, Meta has taken a step towards addressing one of the key issues that has been raised against it.
— to www.globalvillagespace.com