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Facebook owner Meta makes antitrust commitments over online advertising

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By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - France's anti-trust watchdog body said on Thursday that it had approved commitments made by Facebook owner Meta Platforms regarding the French online advertising sector.

Meta has committed to giving access over a five-year period to advertising inventories and campaign data to so-called advertising technology companies on transparent, objective and predictable conditions, the French regulator said.

"It's the first time Meta makes commitments to a competition authority (over the ad sector)," said the French competition authority's vice-chairman Henri Piffaut.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The antitrust decision follows a complaint by French online advertising group Criteo.

Meta provides access to the advertising data through Meta Business Partner and it has committed that ad tech companies can access it when a level of spending is met on its interface.

The commitments made by Meta are applicable for ad inventories on all Meta's platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, the watchdog said.

The commitments also apply to ad tech companies that participated in at least one ad campaign seen by Meta's users in France, the authority said.

Ad tech companies exploit data collected online to participate in online ad campaigns, aiming to target Internet users with messages that fit their tastes.

The antitrust authority's general aim is to offer non-discriminatory market conditions to the growing number of companies that have emerged in the online sector.

"You can develop an ecosystem but it shouldn't exclude a competitor," Piffaut said.

In May, Germany's cartel office had said Meta Platforms Inc had "paramount significance for competition across markets", marking a classification which gave Germany more leeway to curb digital companies' market power.

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Jane Merriman)

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