South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission eyes sanctions on Meta over Marketplace practices

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    8th March 2024 – (Seoul) South Korea’s competition watchdog is reportedly mulling punitive action against Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, over alleged shortcomings in consumer protections within their online marketplaces. According to sources cited on Friday, 8th March, by Yonhap news agency and the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) is scrutinising potential breaches of the nation’s electronic commerce regulations.

    The KFTC has apparently concluded its preliminary investigation into Meta’s practices and forwarded an examination report to the company in the latter part of the previous year. This document is understood to precede a formal review by the Commission’s board members, who will deliberate on the findings and determine whether measures, including sanctions, are warranted.

    Central to the agency’s concerns is the accusation that Meta has not instituted sufficient safeguards for users engaging in transactions on Facebook and Instagram’s marketplace platforms. Specifically, the KFTC alleges that Meta has not fulfilled its obligations to provide remedies or mediate in disputes arising from sales—a fundamental requirement for e-commerce entities under South Korean law.

    While Facebook and Instagram are primarily known as social networking services, the commercial activities conducted through their integrated marketplaces subject them to e-commerce legislation, as per the reports.

    The KFTC has refrained from publicly acknowledging the investigation, citing its standard policy of not commenting on matters that are currently active. Likewise, as of the latest information, Meta has not furnished a response to enquiries regarding the situation.