The UK’s competition regulator CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has settled its antitrust investigations into Amazon and Meta. It has been separately probing the two companies over potential misuse of consumer data to unfairly benefit their products. The UK watchdog says it has received commitments from the two tech biggies that will “help protect fair competition.”
Amazon and Meta settle their antitrust investigations in the UK
The CMA’s investigations into Amazon and Meta had similar cores. They concerned the two firms’ respective retail platforms – Amazon Marketplace and Facebook Marketplace. The antitrust case against the former sought to determine if it was using Marketplace data obtained from third-party sellers “to give itself an unfair competitive advantage” to its own retail business.
The investigation also looked into the e-commerce giant’s warehousing and delivery services. The CMA had concerns that it was giving an advantage to sellers that use its logistics services rather than rival businesses. The regulatory body launched the investigation in July 2022. However, Amazon committed to keep things fair, prompting the CMA to drop the investigation.
It agreed to keep a level playing field for all third-party Marketplace sellers, so they can compete fairly and that UK customers get the best deals. All independent sellers will get a fair chance to feature their offers in the “Buy Box.” Additionally, sellers can negotiate delivery rates directly with independent providers. The CMA began a consultation on Amazon’s commitments in July 2023 and has now accepted them.
The CMA’s antitrust case against Meta looked into its handling of third-party data to curate content on Facebook Marketplace. The company has agreed to allow rivals that advertise on its platforms to opt out of their data being used to improve Facebook Marketplace. It has also pledged to limit the use of ad data when developing products. “Without these measures in place, Meta risks having an unfair competitive advantage that could distort competition,” the CMA said in a press release.
An independent trustee will monitor compliance with the commitments
The CMA will appoint an independent trustee to monitor Amazon and Meta’s compliance with their respective commitments. It hasn’t shared more information about the trustee. “We welcome the constructive resolution of our concerns in a way that benefits people and businesses and expect to see more of this kind of resolution once the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill comes into force,” said Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive Officer of the regulatory body.