The Antitrust Week In Review
Facebook in EU antitrust crosshairs over data collection. EU antitrust regulators are investigating how Facebook collects and monetizes its data, the European Commission said, opening a second front on top of an existing probe into the social media giant’s online marketplace. “These investigations concern the way data is gathered, processed, used and monetized including for advertising purposes,” the EU competition enforcer said, without providing details. A questionnaire seen by Reuters showed the Commission zooming in on Facebook’s application programming interface (API) that allows app developers to access data or functionalities on its platform and its photo-sharing site Instagram and software components to interact.
State AGs Look to Head Off T-Mobile-Sprint Deal in Court. A high-drama telecom deal is heading to court. T-Mobile, in its attempt to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion, has already notched approvals from key federal regulators. Now it must convince a federal judge that the 14 state attorneys general suing to stop the deal are wrong. A trial is slated to start in U.S. District Court in New York and is expected to last several weeks. If T-Mobile prevails, the number of major U.S. wireless companies would shrink to three from four. A combined T-Mobile-Sprint would become a fiercer competitor to larger Verizon and AT&T. But the states argue that having one fewer mobile carrier would reduce competition and cost Americans billions of dollars in higher phone bills.
Auto parts firms agree to pay California $23 million in antitrust probe. A group of 52 auto parts manufacturers has agreed to pay California $23 million as part of a decade-old investigation into antitrust law violations stemming from illegal bid rigging, the state said on Wednesday. Following an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department that began about 10 years ago, 46 companies agreed to pay a total of nearly $3 billion in fines while pleading guilty to price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry. More than 22 million cars are registered in California, the most of any U.S. state.
U.S. FTC finds Cambridge Analytica deceived Facebook users. U.S. regulators on Friday said they had found now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica deceived consumers about the collection of Facebook Inc data for voter profiling and targeting. The Federal Trade Commission also found that Cambridge Analytica engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework – a pact on the cross-border transfer of personal data. The agency order prohibits Cambridge Analytica from misrepresenting the extent to which it protects the privacy and confidentiality of personal information. It also stops the consulting firm from participating in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and other similar regulatory organizations.