Facebook ready to commit to clear ad data access for partners, French watchdog says

FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos on a computer screen are seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny
FILE PHOTO: Facebook logos on a computer screen are seen in this photo illustration taken in Lavigny May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud/File Photo

June 4, 2021

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. social media giant Facebook has offered to commit to providing its partners with clear and objective conditions of access to advertising inventories and ad campaign data, France’s antitrust authority said on Thursday following an investigation.

Facebook’s proposed commitments followed a complaint by French online advertising group Criteo, which pointed to its withdrawal from the Facebook Marketing Partner (FMP) scheme in 2018 and alleged the U.S. giant’s practices constituted denigrating conduct.

FMPs are part of a group of more than 100 technology providers that offer advertisers services to improve their online ad campaigns, the watchdog said.

To obtain FMP status, companies undergo a selection process and are compelled to abide by certain rules. In return, Facebook allows them to use some of its services.

The watchdog’s investigation found that Facebook’s practices were “likely” to impair access to advertising inventories and ad campaign data on Facebook.

It also underlined a lack of transparency and objectivity in the way applications to become an FMP are treated.

In response to this early probe, Facebook offered to maintain objectivity, clarity and non-discrimination around the performance criteria required of FMPs, and offer regular compliance training to sales teams, the watchdog said.

Facebook is ready to make these commitments, which the antitrust authority submitted for public consultation until July 5, for a three-year period. The commitments only apply to companies that target French users of Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook did not immediately reply to a request seeking comment.

Criteo said it would review Facebook’s commitments over coming weeks.

“We are encouraged by Facebook’s commitments around maintaining an objective and non-discriminatory partner program,” it said.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by David Evans, Kirsten Donovan)