Meta evaded the sanction of the Antimonopoly Physique

There is no penalty for Meta! Mark Zuckerberg’s group avoided sanctions in the conflict between it and French Crite, a specialist in re-targeting advertising, according to a decision made by the competition authority on June 16.

Advertising retargeting? You express your interest in jeans in the online store without going to the act of shopping. A few minutes later, you are on Facebook and the right product appears as magic. Criteo – or one of his competitors – was there.

50% online advertising

In online advertising, there is one that sells advertising space, such as Meta Group, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram in particular, which monopolizes 90% of advertising on social networks in France. At the other end of the chain, the advertiser, for whom Meta has developed countless tools that enable precise targeting.

But that is not always enough: intermediaries, such as Criteo, can slip between them. If the French group is a dwarf in relation to Meta (about 2 billion euros in turnover last year, compared to 110 billion), it is a mediator that counts. Important detail: since 2016, Meta has been operating in this segment and developing its own service. Criteo took over the Antimonopoly Body in 2019, accusing the group of abusing its dominant position.

Abuse of a dominant position?

The French are making three complaints to the American giant. In order to re-target, Criteo relies on Meta technologies, which optimize the operation of its algorithms: however, in 2018, the social network cut off access to one of these services. At the same time, Criteo has lost the quality of a “Facebook marketing partner”, a kind of label awarded to the best intermediaries, a real breath of fresh air for customers.

Finally, the sales teams of the American group have “involved in conduct that could constitute derogatory treatment of Crite”notes the Agency for Protection of Competition.

Elements that give birth “competition concerns”, assures the regulator. These practices “it was likely () have foreclosure effects, by weakening competitive pressure from intermediaries such as Criteo, whose re-targeting service competes with that developed by Meta. ”.

Before the agreement than a fine

However, the government decided not to sanction Mark Zuckerberg’s group. She took a different path and signed an agreement with the group to introduce measures to end this practice. “This is the first time Meta has offered commitments accepted by a competition authority.” notes Henri Piffaut, vice-president. It took many months of discussions to achieve this.

In particular, Meta will establish objective and transparent criteria for selecting intermediaries who access or receive its services. The group will be continuously monitored by a team of independent commissioners. Does gin get away with avoiding punishment? “Deciding on sanctions often takes too long,” justifies Henry Pifo. The adversarial procedure is long and, often, the decision comes when the market changes. »

A cure

Criteo claims it is “very happy” outcome. “At the moment, we’re just focused on re-establishing a partnership with Met,” he said. he communicated. The possibility of going to the courts to seek compensation for the damage suffered is excluded.

The advertising broker was shaken by the stock market after the decision of Facebook 2018. The group has not yet, in 2021, regained the then level of traffic.

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