Facebook is asking the EU courts to limit the information that the region’s antitrust regulator can and cannot request while investigating the company and its business practices. Describing the requests from the EU Competition Commission as “exceptionally broad”, Facebook’s associate competition attorney general, Tim Lamb, argued that the information the investigators request will compromise the privacy of their employees.
In a statement to AFP, Lamb said: “The exceptionally broad nature of the commission’s requests means that we would be required to submit predominantly irrelevant documents that have nothing to do with the commission’s investigations.” According to him, the documents include “highly confidential personal information, such as employee medical information.” It also includes “personal financial documents and private information about the relatives of the employees,” he said.
The EU Facebook investigation comes at a time when many of the big tech companies in the US face increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators around the world. Google is one of those companies that face antitrust investigations in several countries, including India. The company has already faced massive fines for alleged bias in its search algorithm, including an Rs. Rs 136 million fine (~ $ 20 million) in India in 2018.
Facebook itself has also received increased scrutiny from global antitrust regulators. WhatsApp, a subsidiary of Facebook since 2014, is being investigated by the Indian Competition Commission (CCI) for trying to bundle its proposed payment service with its instant messaging application. Either way, with the big tech companies in the US facing increased scrutiny both at home and abroad, it will be interesting to see how things work in the future.