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Facebook’s Meta Parent has requested a change in access rules for ad verification by the French antitrust agency


France’s antitrust watchdog on Thursday gave Facebook owner Meta two months to change access rules for ad verification partners, saying the company could unfairly benefit from a dominant market position in online advertising.

In a statement, the competition authority said Meta should publish new access criteria for partners seeking to use its analytics tools to assess whether online ad campaigns have actually been seen by people and are not being displayed in a way that could damage a brand’s reputation.

She said the new standards should be transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate.

“We are reviewing the interim decision and considering all of our options,” a Meta spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Ad verification companies offer services that include measuring the number of views online ads receive, detecting fraudulent online traffic, and ensuring customers’ ads don’t appear on websites that harm their brand, such as porn sites.

The French body said Meta’s invite-only approach allowed access to its data to only the largest operators and could be seen as discriminatory in the areas of the company’s “viewability” and “brand security” offerings.

The case was brought by Adloox, a small, independent French ad verification company, which unsuccessfully sought to be granted access to these services’ Meta data from 2016 to 2022.

Adloox complained to the competition authority last year, and the authority found that the barrier to entry created by Meta posed an “immediate and serious” harm to Adloox specifically, as well as to the independent ad checking sector as a whole.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.