Amazon and Facebook pledge to address marketplace competition concerns

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has received commitments from Amazon and Facebook to ensure fair competition on their online marketplaces.

In July last year, UK competition watchdog launched an investigation into concerns that Amazon was giving an unfair advantage to its own retail business over competing sellers that use Amazon Marketplace.

It also flagged that sellers using the e-commerce giant's warehousing and delivery services were getting an unfair advantage over those using rival logistics businesses.

Following the launch of the probe, Amazon has committed to giving independent sellers a fair chance of their offers being featured in its ‘Buy Box’, where most sales on the platform take place.

The company will also now be prevented from using Marketplace data it gets from third-party sellers, which the CMA says gives it an unfair competitive advantage.

Additionally, Amazon will allow sellers to negotiate their own delivery rates directly with independent providers of Prime delivery services.

Facebook-owner Meta has also signed new commitments which will stop the social media giant from exploiting its advertising customers’ data.

The regulator said that without these measures in place, the company risks having an unfair competitive advantage that could distort competition.

Competitors of Facebook Marketplace that advertise on Meta platforms will now be able to ‘opt out’ of their data being used to improve Facebook Marketplace.

Meta has also pledged to limit how it uses ad data when developing its products, which means it can no longer exploit advertising customers’ data to give itself an unfair advantage when competing with products or services sold by those advertising customers.

"We have accepted Amazon’s commitments as they help thousands of independent UK sellers to compete on a level playing field against Amazon’s own retail arm," said Ann Pope, senior director for antitrust enforcement, CMA. "This should also mean customers get access to the best product offers.

"The commitments secured from Meta mean the firm cannot exploit advertising customers’ data to give itself an unfair advantage – and as such distort competition.

"Having assessed the commitments and the feedback received, including from sellers, advertisers and customers, we believe both sets of commitments address the specific competition concerns we had here in the UK."

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