The European Union and the U.K. opened formal antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc.’s classified-ads service Marketplace, ramping up regulatory scrutiny for the company in Europe.
Both the European Commission—the EU’s top antitrust enforcer—and the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said Friday they are investigating whether Facebook repurposes data it gathers from advertisers who buy ads in order to give illegal advantages to its own services, including its Marketplace online flea market.
The U.K. added that it is also investigating whether Facebook uses advertiser data to give similar advantages to its online-dating service. The two competition watchdogs said they would coordinate their investigations.
“In today’s digital economy, data should not be used in ways that distort competition,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s antitrust chief.
A Facebook spokesman said its Marketplace and Dating services “operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents. We will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit.”