Germany’s Federal Cartel Office said Wednesday (May 4) it plans to impose tougher regulations on Facebook owner Meta Platforms.
According to Reuters, the office determined that Meta has “paramount significance for competition across markets,” a designation that gives the regulator more authority to limit the market power of Big Tech companies.
Legislation adopted in Germany last year gives the cartel office the power to ban activity it determines to be anti-competitive. In a statement issued Wednesday, the cartel office said that Meta operates a robust, growing, ad-supported social media ecosystem that is used by a large portion of Germany’s population.
The office said the new classification would form the foundation for a swifter conclusion to ongoing antitrust proceedings against Meta, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram.
The Cartel Office in 2019 ordered Facebook to limit its data collection, arguing the social media giant had abused its position in the market to harvest user info without their permission. The matter is still pending in court.
In 2020, the office began abuse proceedings against Meta connected to the links between its Oculus virtual reality products and social media network, Reuters said.
A Meta spokesperson told Reuters the company would comply with the cartel office’s decision.
“Even if we do not share the reasoning that has led to the Federal Cartel Office’s decision, we will continue to concentrate on providing our users in Germany with the best possible experience in keeping with all the laws and regulations,” the spokesperson said.
The news comes as Facebook is struggling to get its eCommerce project off the ground, according to recent reports, leaving retailers frustrated. Meta has defended the project, calling it a “multiyear journey.”