The United Kingdom’s competition watchdog has completed its antitrust investigations into Amazon’s and Meta’s retail platforms, securing commitments from these U.S. tech giants that will ultimately benefit consumers.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Friday that it had accepted voluntary pledges to ensure “fair competition” on Amazon Marketplace, which links independent sellers with customers, and Facebook Marketplace, where users can list new and second-hand items for sale. These commitments will be in effect for the next five years.
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In theory, the more businesses can compete fairly for consumers’ money, the more choices consumers have. This can lead to improved product quality and lower prices, as the idea goes.
Ann Pope, the CMA’s senior director for antitrust enforcement, stated that Amazon’s commitments would enable thousands of UK sellers to compete on an equal footing with the company’s extensive retail operations. This, in turn, will help customers access the “best deals,” according to the CMA.
Amazon (AMZN) has pledged to provide independent sellers with a “fair chance” of being featured in its “Buy Box,” a prominently displayed feature that enables customers to quickly purchase products or add items to their shopping carts, the CMA stated.
The e-commerce giant has also announced that it will enable third-party sellers to directly discuss their delivery expenses for its Prime service with independent couriers, as reported by the watchdog.
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An Amazon spokesperson informed CNN, “We appreciate this agreement, which will maintain our capacity to serve our customers and the 100,000+ small and medium-sized businesses selling through our UK store.
Regarding Meta (META), the company has pledged not to misuse the data of users who advertise on its retail platform. The CMA noted that Meta’s competitors will have the choice to “opt out” of the tech company using their data to enhance Facebook Marketplace.
This commitment, among others, ensures that Meta “cannot utilize advertising customers’ data to gain an unfair advantage, which would distort competition,” according to Pope.
The CMA, which initiated its investigations into Amazon and Meta in 2022 and 2021, respectively, has stated that it will designate an independent entity to ensure both companies adhere to the commitments. The commitments do not indicate any violation of competition law by these companies, as per the CMA.
In recent years, global tech giants have come under increasing regulatory scrutiny as authorities argue that Big Tech monopolies have placed many smaller businesses at a significant disadvantage.
In September, the US Federal Trade Commission and 17 states filed a landmark case against Amazon, alleging that the company unfairly promotes its own platform and services to the detriment of third-party sellers.
Furthermore, data regulators in the European Union have announced that Meta may soon require consent from its European users to utilize their data for targeted advertisements on Facebook and Instagram.
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