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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The European Union and United Kingdom opened dual antitrust investigations into Facebook on Friday to determine if the social media company distorts competition in the classified advertising market.

Why it matters: The new investigations are the latest salvo in European regulators' crackdown on Big Tech companies, in an attempt to even the playing field and save local businesses.

Driving the news: The European Commission is specifically seeking to determine whether Facebook holds an unfair advantage over its competitors by placing its own classified ad service, Marketplace, inside of the social network.

  • The U.K.'s antitrust regulator said it is examining whether Facebook’s access to user data gives it an unfair advantage over competitors providing classified data and online dating services.

What they're saying: "Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, enabling it to target specific customer groups,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s digital czar, said in a statement.

  • “We will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage, in particular on the online classified ads sector," she added.
  • "We intend to thoroughly investigate Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices are giving it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified ad sectors," Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority, said in a statement.

The other side: Facebook told the Wall Street Journal that 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.”

Go deeper: The world regulates Big Tech while U.S. dithers

Go deeper

Jun 3, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: New campaign urges Facebook not to reinstate Trump

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new campaign aimed at keeping former President Trump off Facebook launches Friday as the company faces a deadline to respond to recommendations from the independent Oversight Board about handling speech by political figures.

Why it matters: Facebook doesn't have to decide what to do about Trump's account for another five months, but activists are already putting pressure on the tech giant to keep Trump off.

Jun 3, 2021 - Technology

Facebook names longtime exec Marne Levine as chief business officer

Photo: Facebook

Facebook has promoted Marne Levine, its current vice president of global partnerships, business and corporate development, to the newly created role of chief business officer, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Levine, who has been at Facebook for more than a decade, is a close confidant to Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. She replaces outgoing chief revenue officer David Fischer, who was in that position for more than 10 years.

New tech antitrust hurdle: GOP divisions

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Divisions within party caucuses, particularly Republicans, are emerging as a new threat to Congressional action against alleged monopolistic behavior by tech giants.

Why it matters: It's a blow to the longstanding theory that a bitterly divided Congress could still agree to tighten the antitrust screws on Big Tech, since both sides have beefs with the industry.

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