Facebook Marketplace under investigation by EU probe

Facebook’s online marketplace is coming under investigation by the EU’s competition probe over concerns it is promoting its own marketplace over others to its users.

Facebook Marketplace, launched in 2016, is a classified advert platform like Gumtree or Craigslist, which according to its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says is now visited by hundreds of millions of people every month”.

The EU is building an antitrust case against Facebook and in its latest phase has handed out a 14-page questionnaire to European competitors.

This questionnaire, understood to be at least the third sent out to competitors in the EU’s widespread probe, asks them to outline the effect Facebook has on their own classified ads business.

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“The EU is investigating the potential abuse of Facebook’s dominant position by tying Marketplace into the social network and the advantages that might give them,” a source with direct knowledge of the probe told the Financial Times.

It’s understood that despite calls to delay the case due to the virus, investigators have continued to push ahead with the Facebook case.

The EU was originally aiming to charge Facebook formally in the summer this year, but it is understood this timing could now be fluid.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “Compliance with competition rules and other legal requirements is a key consideration for Facebook as we develop our services and products. We stand ready to answer any questions the European Commission may have.”

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