Facebook Owner Meta Questions Necessity of Data Requests in EU Antitrust Investigations on Social Media App

Meta Platforms on Wednesday compared searches by European Union antitrust regulators to a super fishing vessel while investigating the owner of Facebook’s data and online marketplace.

Meta says it has already submitted more than 1 million documents to the European Commission since its first request in 2019 for the Facebook Marketplace, social networks and online classifieds.

However, he questioned the necessity and proportionality of the data requests and the reasons given by the EU competition watchdog. The company also criticized the agency’s use of 2,500 search phrases — including “big question,” “free” and “not good for us” — to search company documents.

The company, which faces a daily fine of 8 million euros (about 66 crore) if it does not comply with the demands, later took its complaint to the General Court, the second highest in the European Union.

“One needs to combine the ambiguous nature of what is under investigation with the extraordinarily broad general search terms. Once one does that, it is, with respect, clear what is going on here. This is a classic hunting expedition,” meta attorney Daniel Joel told Front A panel of five judges.

“Indeed, we’ll go further,” he said. “The Commission operates like a giant fishing vessel, sweeping the entire sea floor – with the intention of later seeing the rare fish species it finds within its vast nets.”

The court will issue its ruling in the coming months.

The cases are T-451/20 and T-452/20 Meta Platforms Ireland v Commission.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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