Insights Competition and Markets Authority consults on commitments from Meta to limit use of other businesses’ ad data


In response to competition concerns raised by the CMA, Meta has offered commitments not to use competitors’ advertising data for its Facebook Marketplace online classified ad service. It will do this by implementing new technical systems and training for staff.

In addition, under the proposed commitments, Meta will take steps to restrict the use of ad data for development of other Meta products made available in the UK in competition with advertisers.

The CMA launched a Competition Act investigation in June 2021 into arrangements which appear to enable Meta to use certain ad data from businesses using its advertising services to develop and improve Meta’s own products in competition with those advertising customers. For example, the CMA says, data derived from users’ engagement with ads on Facebook could provide Meta with knowledge as to whether a user is interested in a particular product such as trainers, which could then in turn feed into a decision to show listings for shoes to that same user when it opens the Facebook Marketplace tab.

The CMA’s preliminary view is that the offer from Meta addresses its competition concerns and it is now consulting on these commitments before deciding whether to accept them.

The commitments include:

  • limiting the use of ad data Meta has through digital display advertising and business tool services, which identifies advertisers, including taking steps to ensure that employees working on product development do not use such data to develop and improve Meta’s products in the UK in competition with advertisers;
  • Meta publishing a clear public statement in its code of conduct, setting out the standards to which it holds itself and its expectations of its employees, i.e. that such data should not be used to develop or improve products, to give greater transparency and clarity for the people and businesses that use Meta’s advertising services; and
  • Meta offering advertisers the ability to opt out of their advertising data being used to develop or improve Facebook Marketplace and implementing technical systems to prevent the use of data from advertisers who have opted out.

The idea is that a monitoring trustee would be appointed to oversee the technical changes and training. They would provide the CMA with reports on Meta’s compliance and report any failures.

The CMA is now consulting on Meta’s proposed commitments. The consultation closes on 26 June 2023. To read the CMA’s press release in full and for access to the consultation, click here.