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Facebook faces oversight in Germany

Facebook's parent company, Meta, has become the next tech giant to be confirmed as subject to a special competition abuse control regime in Germany. The digital competition rules are focused on big digital companies that are considered to be of ''great significance for competition across markets'', as the law puts it.

The designation, which stands for five years, empowers the regulator, the Federal Cartel Office (FCO), to take faster action to respond to competition concerns linked to Meta's operations by imposing operational conditions intended to correct antitrust abuses.

The FCO said Meta has not sought to appeal the designation - which Meta confirmed. But the social media giant disagrees with some of the findings, such as that it dominates the market for social networks - pointing to what it claims is great competition for consumers' attention from other social platforms, such as TikTok, Youtube, Snapchat, and Twitter.

In a statement on the designation, a Meta spokesperson said:

“While we disagree with the reasoning leading to the FCO’s decision, our focus remains on delivering the best possible experience to our users in Germany in compliance with all laws and regulations. We look forward to continuing to work constructively with the FCO.”

In January 2022 the FCO designated Google as the first tech giant to meet the threshold for the ex-ante competition regime to apply. Shortly afterward, the tech giant offered concessions on how it operates its new licensing product, Google Showcase, in the country as an FCO probe of Showcase's small print (going since Junce 2021) continued.

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