REFILE-Meta will challenge the EU’s antitrust allegations at a hearing on July 13

(Correctly it says Thursday in the first paragraph, not Friday)

Author: Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) – Facebook owner Meta will reject EU antitrust allegations at a closed hearing on Thursday, trying to avoid a possible hefty fine after regulators accused it of tying its classified ads service to the social network, people familiar with the matter said.

Last December, the European Commission sent a statement of allegations to the most popular social networking site in the world, pointing out two practices that showed that Meta had abused its market power.

It was found that Meta’s linking of the classifieds website Facebook Marketplace with the social network Facebook gave the former an undue advantage.

It also questioned Meta’s unfair trading conditions imposed on rival online classifieds sites that advertise on Facebook or Instagram.

Meta declined to comment on the hearing, where senior Antitrust Commission officials and their colleagues from national regulators will be present to hear her arguments.

“The European Commission’s claims are baseless. We will continue to work with regulators to demonstrate that our product innovations are pro-consumer and pro-competitive,” Meta’s attorney, Tim Lamb, said in a statement.

If a company is found guilty of violating EU antitrust rules, the company could face a fine of up to 10% of its global turnover and an order to change its business practices. As people familiar with the matter told Reuters, the company had previously tried to resolve the matter.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Nick Zieminski)