The UK competition authority has launched a new investigation into Facebook over concerns that the tech giant may be abusing a dominant position in digital advertising.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will investigate how the social network collects and uses certain data and whether it could provide an unfair advantage over competitors in the online advertising and online dating space.
In addition to Facebook’s advertising services, the CMA will also look into Facebook Login, a feature that allows people to log into third-party websites and apps over the Internet using their Facebook credentials, as part of the investigation.
The regulator said it will assess whether the data from both offerings will allow the company to take advantage of Facebook Marketplace, part of the platform where users can post ads, and Facebook Dating.
The announcement comes as the European Commission has launched its own investigation into the company’s use of data.
“We plan to thoroughly examine Facebook’s use of data to assess whether its business practices give it an unfair advantage in the online dating and classified advertising sectors,” said Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA.
“Such an advantage can make it more difficult for competing companies to succeed, including new and smaller businesses, and can reduce customer choice.
We will work closely with the European Commission in investigating these issues, and continue our coordination with other agencies to address these global issues.
” In an unexpected and unrelated change in its attitude to elected officials, Facebook is expected to announce that it will no longer grant special treatment to content posted by politicians.
This follows the Capitol riots in January and the alleged incitement and endorsement of the violence by Donald Trump, after which Facebook banned Trump from the platform completely.
Before that, Facebook had almost completely taken a hands-off approach to content posted by politicians, citing concerns about free speech and claiming that all such posts were in the public interest.
Facebook’s change of heart follows the recommendations of its own supervisory board, which criticized the laissez-faire attitude towards politicians using the service and recommended that “the same rules should apply to all users” from now on.
Meanwhile, Twitter – Facebook’s longtime social media rival – has launched a premium tier called Twitter Blue.
The main attraction of the paid service is an ‘undo’ feature, which allows an impulsive user to retract a tweet and make changes up to 30 seconds after pressing send.
This basically creates a delay, or common sense buffer, giving the user time for reflection and revision before their tweet finally goes live to the public.
Further exclusive enhancements – such as the ability to organize saved tweets into bookmarked folders, access to a read mode for longer threads, and dedicated customer support – are rolling out as part of Twitter Blue, which debuted in Australia and Canada for $4.49 AUD and $3,49. 49 CAD per month (£1.90 and £2.04 respectively).
This is the first time Twitter has charged for using its service as the company is looking for new revenue streams to supplement its advertising revenue.
Twitter has assured users that the move isn’t part of a plan to eventually start charging to use the entire platform, saying in a blog post that the existing free service “isn’t going away and never will.
” The blog post added, “This subscription offering is simply to add enhanced and additional features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it.
” Prior to the soft launch in Australia and Canada, Twitter Blue had been spotted as an in-app purchase in app stores, priced in the UK at £2.49 per month. No UK launch date has been confirmed.
Twitter Blue follows the “Tip Jar” for profiles, which allows users to send money to others on the platform as a way to “receive and show support” on the site.