Advertising verification: French antitrust orders Meta not to foreclose the market
Meta (Facebook) will have to quickly amend its practices in terms of advertising verification ,…
Meta (Facebook) will have to quickly amend its practices in terms of advertising verification , i.e. what relates in particular to “brand safety” (security of the brand in a given ecosystem) or visibility measures (“viewability”) making it possible to calculate the volume of impressions of a adverti*****t. This Thursday, the Competition Authority announced that it had issued interim measures aimed at the Menlo Park group because it is concerned about practices of a “potentially anti-competitive nature” and a “possible abuse of a dominant position”.
The French antitrust was seized, at the end of last year, by the tricolor adtech Adloox, specialist in advertising verification, which complained of not having been able to integrate a system of partnerships set up by Facebook and allowing to access certain user data. However, “to offer a complete service offer, independent auditors need access to the ecosystem of integrated platforms in order to cover their inventories”, underlines the Autorité de la concurrence.
As a result, this refusal severely hampered Adloox’s economic development, given Facebook’s dominant position in the online social media advertising market. Especially since at the same time, other more m***ive players specializing in advertising verification – Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Oracle MOAT – are themselves integral parts of said Meta programs.
“A barrier to entry”
In detail, Adloox accuses Meta of having “discriminatorily denied it access to “viewability” and “brand safety” partnerships, but also of abusing “its dominant position by imposing unfair access conditions” . To justify this refusal, the American group, on the pretext of problems of financial costs and time that the introduction of a new partner in its programs would have generated, but without ever supporting its statement or providing related details.
“Meta’s setting of access criteria for these partnerships is problematic because they are confidential,” stresses Benoît Coeuré, President of the Competition Authority. This creates a barrier to entry and prevents this market from developing, while favoring its concentration around a few large players”. To counter this, the antitrust enjoins Meta in particular to “define and make public new criteria for access to these partnerships which are objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate” within two months.
Other precautionary measures have also been pronounced in order to facilitate the integration of Adloox into the partnerships, in the event that adtech meets the new criteria. This package of measures will remain in force until the decision on the merits of the Authority on this file. “Today’s announcements in no way predict our future decision on the merits”, specifies Benoît Coeuré who warns: “If Meta does not comply, we will switch to repressive logic”.