European regulators launch fresh probes of Facebook, Google

Friday, June 4, 2021 | Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer


In this file photo dated Friday, April 23, 2021, the Facebook app is shown on a smart phone, in Surfside, USA. European Union regulators said Friday June 4, 2021, they have opened an antitrust investigation into Facebook to look into whether the company distorts competition in the classified advertising market by using data it collects from rival services. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, FILE)

LONDON (AP) — European Union and British regulators opened dual antitrust investigations Friday into whether Facebook distorts competition in the classified advertising market by using data to compete unfairly against rival services.

German officials, meanwhile, launched a fresh investigation of Google using stepped up powers to scrutinize digital giants.

The multiple probes represent the latest escalation by European regulators in their battle to rein in the dominance of big American tech companies. The focus of the EU and U.K. investigations highlights a longstanding concern that the data the companies collect from people or businesses with their platforms is used to get an advantage over competitors, which could include those same businesses.

“Facebook collects vast troves of data on the activities of users of its social network and beyond, enabling it to target specific customer groups,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president in charge of competition policy. “We will look in detail at whether this data gives Facebook an undue competitive advantage, in particular on the online classified ads sector, where people buy and sell goods every day, and where Facebook also competes with companies from which it collects data.”

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority said in a simultaneous announcement that it launched its own probe to examine whether Facebook’s collection and use of data gave it an unfair advantage over competitors providing classified data and online dating services.

Facebook said it “will continue to cooperate fully with the investigations to demonstrate that they are without merit.”

Marketplace, Facebook's classified ad service, and Facebook Dating “offer people more choices and both products operate in a highly competitive environment with many large incumbents,” the company said in a statement.

The EU's executive commission, the bloc's top antitrust enforcer, is looking at the possibility that Facebook collects data on what users are interested in based on how rival classified ad sites are advertising their services to Facebook users. The commission is worried Facebook then uses that data to tailor Marketplace to outcompete the rival sites.

It's also looking at whether the way Marketplace is embedded into the social network gives Facebook an advantage in reaching customers and shutting out competing sites, in violation of EU competition rules.

The U.K.'s competition watchdog is pursuing its own investigation, which includes examining whether data from Facebook Login was unfairly used. The feature lets users sign into other websites, apps and services with their Facebook credentials, making it a potentially big source of information on users' interests.

“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 CMA, said in a press statement.

The EU and U.K. investigations could result in formal charges, but it’s not a given. Regulators have the power to impose penalties worth up to 10% of a company's annual revenue, which in Facebook’s case would amount to billions of dollars.

Also Friday, Germany’s competition watchdog, which has gained new powers to use on digital companies, opened its latest investigation of Google. The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, said it is examining whether Google’s News Showcase, a licensing platform for publishers launched last fall, includes “unreasonable conditions” in contracts for news publishers.

The federal office is also looking at whether search results give preference to publishers using the platform at the expense of others that haven’t been signed up.

Google denied giving preference to news partners and said it is cooperating with the German watchdog agency.

U.S. tech giants already faced intensifying scrutiny in Europe over their business practices. Officials in Brussels have charged Apple with stifling competition in music streaming, accused Amazon of using data from independent merchants to unfairly compete against them with its own products, and are informally investigating Google’s data practices for advertising purposes.

___

For all of AP’s tech coverage, visit https://apnews.com/apf-technology

___

Follow Kelvin Chan at https://www.twitter.com/chanman

Featured Article: Stock Market - What is a circuit breaker?


7 Electric Vehicle (EV) Stocks That Have Real Juice

I’ll start with a disclaimer. You won’t see Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) or Nio (NYSE:NIO) on this list. And that’s not because I’m being contrarian. I just view Tesla and Nio as the known quantities in the electric vehicle sector. The goal of this presentation is to help you identify stocks that may be flying under your radar.

Many EV stocks went public in 2020 via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). There is both good and bad to that story. The good is that investors have many options for investing in the EV sector. Many of the companies that have entered the market are attempting to carve out a specific niche.

The potentially bad news is that these stocks are very speculative in nature. Whereas companies like Tesla and Nio have a proven (albeit recent) track record, there are things like revenue and orders that investors can analyze. With many of these newly public companies, investors are being asked to buy the story more than the stock and that is always risky.

However, in this special presentation, we’ve identified seven companies that look like they have a story that is compelling enough that investors should be rewarded in 2021.

View the "7 Electric Vehicle (EV) Stocks That Have Real Juice".


Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Alphabet (GOOGL)1.7$2,402.22flatN/A31.98Buy$2,510.80
Compare These Stocks  Add These Stocks to My Watchlist 

MarketBeat - Stock Market News and Research Tools logo

MarketBeat empowers individual investors to make better trading decisions by providing real-time financial data and objective market analysis. Whether you’re looking for analyst ratings, corporate buybacks, dividends, earnings, economic reports, financials, insider trades, IPOs, SEC filings or stock splits, MarketBeat has the objective information you need to analyze any stock. Learn more about MarketBeat.

MarketBeat is accredited by the Better Business Bureau

© American Consumer News, LLC dba MarketBeat® 2010-2021. All rights reserved.
326 E 8th St #105, Sioux Falls, SD 57103 | U.S. Based Support Team at [email protected] | (844) 978-6257
MarketBeat does not provide personalized financial advice and does not issue recommendations or offers to buy stock or sell any security.

Our Accessibility Statement | Terms of Service | Do Not Sell My Information

© 2021 Market data provided is at least 10-minutes delayed and hosted by Barchart Solutions. Information is provided 'as-is' and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice, and is delayed. To see all exchange delays and terms of use please see disclaimer. Fundamental company data provided by Zacks Investment Research.