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British, EU officials investigating Facebook over antitrust concerns

The watchdog said the question is whether Facebook is making the market more difficult for competitors by spurring fewer customer choices. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The watchdog said the question is whether Facebook is making the market more difficult for competitors by spurring fewer customer choices. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 4 (UPI) -- British and European Union officials are investigating Facebook over whether it created an unfair advantage by providing services for online classified ads and online dating.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission announced the investigations on Friday.

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The CMA said Facebook collects data from users who apply to digital advertising services, and that it's looking into whether the company uses the same information for benefit -- particularly with the Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Dating.

The CMA said access to the user information can make it more difficult for competitors to succeed, since the practice could ultimately result in fewer customer choices.

"We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook's use of data to assess whether its business practices are giving it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified ad sectors," CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement.

"As this is only the start of the CMA's investigation, no decision has yet been made on whether Facebook has broken the law."

The inquiry is the CMA's third related to regulating the digital marketplace. It's also investigating Google's Privacy Sandbox and Apple's App Store.

EU officials are investigating whether Facebook breached its rules by using advertisers' data to compete against them in certain digital markets.

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