Germany’s anti-cartel watchdog said Wednesday it has placed Meta, the company which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, under close watch for any possible abuse.
The Federal Cartel Office said it has determined Meta to be a company of “paramount significance for competition”, a move paving the way for the authorities to clamp down “against potential competition infringements”.
Meta therefore joins Google in falling under reinforced monitoring made possible by the German Competition Act, which came into force in January 2021.
The act allows the authority to intervene earlier, particularly against huge digital companies.
“The digital ecosystem created by Meta has a very large user base and makes the company the key player in social media,” said Federal Cartel Office chief Andreas Mundt.
Having determined Meta’s significance, the office is “able to intervene against potential competition infringements more efficiently than with the toolkit available to us so far”.
Meta has also waived its right to appeal the German office’s decision, he said.
Big tech companies have been facing increasing scrutiny around the globe over their dominant positions as well as their tax practices.
The EU and Britain in March opened antitrust probes into a 2018 deal between Google and Meta allegedly aimed at cementing their dominance over the online advertising market.