Germany’s cartel office stated that Meta Platforms Inc. (FB.O), Facebook’s owner, has “paramount importance for competition across all markets”. This classification gives the regulator more power to limit the market power of digital companies.
The cartel office has the power to ban any anti-competitive activity it finds, as per legislation that was passed by German legislators in the early 2021.
Meta, which also controls Instagram and WhatsApp, has a strong, ad supported social media ecosystem, according to a statement by the cartel office on Wednesday.
The new classification was said to be the basis for a faster conclusion of ongoing antitrust proceedings against Meta.
The cartel office in 2019 ordered the company’s data collection to be curtailed. It claimed that the largest social network in the world had used its market power to gather information without users’ consent. Meta (now Facebook) appealed against the decision. The matter is currently pending before the court.
In 2020, the cartel office initiated abuse proceedings against Meta for links between Oculus virtual reality products with the social media network.
Meta spokesperson said Wednesday that the U.S.-based firm would comply with the cartel office decision regarding the classification.
“Even if the Federal Cartel Office’s reasoning is not shared by us, we will continue to focus on providing our users with the best possible experience in Germany in accordance with all laws and regulations,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters.