Now Amazon faces full-scale CMA probe into data abuse

amazonJust 48 hours after the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority revealed it was joining with Brussels to investigate whether Facebook’s data practices are giving it an unfair advantage over competitors, the regulator is reportedly planning to kick off a formal investigation into ecommerce giant Amazon.

According to the FT, which quotes “three people familiar with the situation”, the CMA has been scrutinising Amazon’s business for months, focusing on how the online retailer uses the data it collects on its platform.

It has also examined how Amazon decides which merchants appear in the “buy box”, the white panel to the right-hand side of a product where buyers click to add the item to their cart.

Brussels is already investigating Amazon and how the company is using data to advance its own products to the potential detriment of rivals. This probe is in its advanced stages but it could still run for another year or longer. The UK investigation is likely to cover similar ground.

The FT claims that the CMA is keen to have a “full portfolio” of cases against US tech companies.

Late last year, the CMA has revealed its new plan to regulate tech giants by issuing the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon with their own customised rules which, if broken, could result in fines of up to 10% of their global turnover – potentially running into billions of pounds.

It has issued its advice to the Government on the design and implementation of the UK’s new pro-competition regime for digital markets, produced by the Digital Markets Taskforce.

A new Digital Markets Unit (DMU), revealed in November, will ensure the rules of the game are clear up-front, and work with tech firms to ensure they comply with them.

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