Facebook in EU antitrust crosshairs over data collection

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European Union antitrust regulators are investigating how Facebook collects and monetizes its data, the European Commission said on Monday, December 2, 2019 opening a second front on top of an existing probe into the social media giant’s online marketplace.

The EU executive said it had sent out questionnaires as part of preliminary investigations into both Facebook and Google’s data.

The move underlines regulators’ concerns regarding the massive amount of data held by tech giants and how they may leverage this to block competitors and expand into new sectors.

“These investigations concern the way data is gathered, processed, used and monetized including for advertising purposes,” the EU competition enforcer said, without providing details.

A questionnaire seen by Reuters showed the Commission zooming in on Facebook’s application programming interface (API) that allows app developers to access data or functionalities on its platform and its photo-sharing site Instagram and software components to interact.

Data for marketing and advertising services was also in focus.

Regulators wanted to know details of the contracts allowing companies access to Facebook’s APIs and the impact on companies if they were not allowed to use such data.

The questionnaire asked whether there were any restrictions or conditions on Facebook’s use of data provided by the companies in return for access to its APIs, and if Facebook curbs access and the reason for it.

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Facebook warns EU regulators seeking data access about privacy, liability risks

Meanwhile, Facebook as well warned EU regulators on Monday against forcing tech giants to open their vast troves of data to rivals, saying such a move would carry privacy and liability risks.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has voiced concerns that tech industry heavyweights might leverage their power to block rivals and that regulators could have to force them to provide key data to competitors to prevent that.

Yetunde Adegoke

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