CMA secures commitments from Meta and Amazon to create more competitive online retail environment

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said that it had accepted “sets of commitments” from Amazon and Facebook-owner Meta to protect competition on their retail platforms.

The CMA said that it had launched separate investigations into Amazon Marketplace and Facebook Marketplace over their use of advertising data.

The investigation into Amazon was launched in July 2022 over concerns that the company was abusing its market-leading position as the UK’s top online retail platform. This included concerns that Amazon was giving an unfair advantage to its own retail business over competing sellers that use Amazon Marketplace, and to sellers that use Amazon’s own warehousing and delivery services rather than rival logistics businesses, the CMA said.
The CMA said that the commitments secured will help ensure that third-party Marketplace sellers can compete on a level-playing field and that UK customers get access to the best deals.

Amazon has pledged to ensure that independent sellers that use Amazon Marketplace will not see their offers buried and that they will have a “fair chance” of their offers being featured in the ‘Buy Box’ on the site.

The CMA also said that Amazon will be prevented from using data it obtains from third-party sellers to give itself an unfair competitive advantage and will allow sellers to negotiate their own delivery rates directly with independent providers of Prime delivery services.

Meta meanwhile has agreed to measures which will stop it from exploiting advertising customers’ data, with competitors of Facebook Marketplace that advertise on Meta platforms now being offered the option to ‘opt out’ of their data being used to improve Facebook Marketplace.

The CMA said that Meta has also pledged to limit how it uses ad data when developing its products and that, as a result, Meta cannot exploit advertising customers’ data to give itself an unfair advantage when competing with products or services sold by those advertising customers.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “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.”

Ann Pope, senior director for Antitrust Enforcement at the CMA, added: “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. 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.”

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