PublishedDecember 19, 2022

Facebook Marketplace Case: CCIA Europe Comment on European Commission Statement of Objections

Brussels, BELGIUM – Earlier today, the European Commission issued a Statement of Objections against Meta in Case AT.40684 Facebook Marketplace, relating to preliminary concerns that Meta may have engaged in unilateral conduct that distorted competition. Today’s Commission Statement of Objections is an intermediary step in the investigation and does not preclude the final outcome. It follows the opening of the investigation in June of 2021.

The Commission’s preliminary theory of harm is that Meta-owned Facebook abused a dominant position by integrating its Facebook Marketplace service alongside its Facebook social media service, which “means Facebook users have no choice but to have access to Facebook Marketplace” according to Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s Executive Vice-President who also serves as Competition Commissioner. The European Commission also objects to Meta’s use of ads-related data to improve its products and services.

While some antitrust authorities are currently testing innovative theories of harm, these cases should still be based on clear evidence of likely consumer harm, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe) stresses.

However, evidence suggests that Meta’s entry in online marketplaces actually stimulated competition and increased output to the benefit of consumers. This was confirmed by both the German and UK competition authorities, who reviewed mergers involving classified advertising services and consumer-to-consumer online marketplaces.

CCIA Europe finds it disappointing that the Commission appears to be pursuing a case designed to benefit competitors over the interests of consumers, and which could ultimately reduce access to Meta’s services in Europe.

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