Is Facebook In Trouble Again?

EU antitrust regulators are coming after Facebook once again over how the company collects and monetizes its vast collection of data.

Dec. 6, 2019

What is the only thing worse for Big Tech than having a European Commission probe into your business? Having two simultaneous antitrust probes of course! Who else could we be talking about but Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), a company renowned for this kind of unethical culture.

Good ol’ Mark Zuckerberg — fresh from his latest round of hearings in federal court — is now being investigated by the EU Commission for the manner in which Facebook collects and subsequently monetizes its users’ data. This latest assault from antitrust regulators comes in the midst of an investigation into how the social network deals with customers on its own online marketplace.

Facebook, of course, is not the only Big Tech giant under fire at the moment, with fellow members Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) also coming under fire in recent months.

According to the EU competition enforcer, “These investigations concern the way data is gathered, processed, used and monetized including for advertising purposes.” 

Unlike some of Zuckerberg’s antics — which often contribute to stock fluctuation — Facebook’s stock price remains relatively unchanged. 

When will Facebook learn…

One might recall Facebook receiving a fine for similar breaches over the summer when it was forced to pay $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for violation of privacy policy. The reason that Facebook has not learned its lesson is simple: 

It can afford to keep breaking the rules. 

The penalty had little impact on Facebook, who, on the day the FTC announced the fine, had a market value increase worth more than the cost of the penalty itself. The $5 billion fine is only 9% of Facebook’s revenue in the year 2018. The company brought in $55 billion in revenue last year, the majority of which comes from advertising. 

The EU Commission’s latest inquiry into Facebook coincides with an investigation in the U.S., where New York Attorney General Liticia James will look into the company’s anti-competitive dominance in the industry. James is backed by the Attorneys General of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. 

However, much like the Cambridge Analytica scandal of early 2018, Facebook will most likely come through all of these probes with just a slap on the wrist and be on its merry ol’ way. Then it can get back to micromanaging its various apps and competing with other Big Tech firms for global domination.

MyWallSt operates a full disclosure policy. MyWallSt staff currently holds long positions in Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. Read our full disclosure policy here.