EU to open formal probe into Facebook over classified ads business, says report

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The EU is reportedly planning an investigation into Facebook.
  • The European Commission will look to establish whether Facebook is undermining its rivals in classified advertising.
  • The Financial Times reports that Facebook may have "distorted" the classified ads business by promoting its Marketplace.

A new report says the EU is planning to launch a probe into Facebook over its classified ads business and Marketplace.

From the Financial Times:

The European Commission is set to open a formal probe into Facebook's alleged anti-competitive practices as it seeks to understand whether the company is undermining rivals in classified advertising.EU officials have already sent questionnaires to Facebook and rivals asking whether the social network is distorting the classified ads business by promoting its Marketplace services for free to its 2bn users.

The report says the launch of a probe "could come in days" but the timing and the scope of the investigation are still being discussed.

The European Commission declined to comment.

This is the same commission that recently ruled that Apple competes unfairly with Spotify in the music streaming market. From April:

Apple is again in hot water over the way it runs the App Store after the EU Commission announced that it has informed the company of a "preliminary view that it distorted competition in the music streaming market." In other words, the commission believes that Apple Music has an unfair advantage over Spotify – a company that has complained about Apple on the regular.According to Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, Apple's charging of "high commission fees" is enough to give Apple Music an unfair advantage over the competition.

Spotify subscriptions aren't available through in-app purchases, so all customers have to sign up through its website, without paying commission to Apple.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9