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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

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 9, 2021 - Technology

Facebook, Ray-Ban debut picture-taking smart glasses

Image: Facebook

Ray-Ban Stories, the smart glasses being debuted by Facebook and Ray-Ban today, are most notable for just how much they look like a standard pair of the brand's sunglasses.

Why it matters: That speaks to both the most promising and troublesome aspect of the $299 glasses: They look and feel just like a standard pair of Ray-Bans while adding the ability to capture photos and video.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 8 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

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