EU probes Facebook's online classifieds service
The European Union’s probe into media giant Facebook will now focus on whether the social media network is distorting the classified advertising market by promoting its own Marketplace.
Facebook promotes the Marketplace branch to its 2bn users on Facebook which has raised investigators’ concerns.
The officials carrying out the probe sent a 14-page questionnaire to competitors asking them to outline the effect that Facebook is having on their classified ads business.
The latest questionnaire is at least the third that EU officials have sent out as they look to build a competition case against Facebook.
According to the Financial Times, people with direct knowledge of the probe said that the EU was hoping to charge Facebook formally in the summer.
FB launched Marketplace in 2016 as the free US advertising site Craigslist. It allows Facebook users to buy and sell anything.
On Facebook’s last earnings call in January, Sheryl Sandberg, its chief operating officer, said: “Marketplace is growing nicely. It’s now used by hundreds of millions of people every month. We also rolled out ads in Marketplace, which are available in 94 markets, which means advertisers can extend their News Feed ads to Marketplace. We're seeing a lot of interest, especially with retail and auto advertisers. It’s very early, but we’re seeing good results.”