Both companies have used what they know about people to build advertising businesses that generate hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. But how they use that data is becoming a major focus for regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.
Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, has been particularly aggressive, voicing concerns that big tech companies may use their huge data stores to strangle upstart rivals.
A spokesperson for Google said the company uses “data to make our services more useful and to show relevant advertising, and we give people the controls to manage, delete or transfer their data.”
“We will continue to engage with the Commission and others on this important discussion for our industry,” the spokesperson added.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it would examine whether the merger would reduce competition in Britain. The regulator can examine mergers when the firms have significant sales or market share in the country.
The European Union has emerged as a key battleground for tech because of its tough rules on data protection, hate speech, taxation and competition issues.
In March, the European Commission hit Google with a third big antitrust penalty, ordering it to pay €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) for abusing its position in online search advertising. It’s been fined €8.2 billion ($9 billion) in total by Europe since 2017.
The US Justice Department is conducting a wide-ranging antitrust review of the biggest players in Silicon Valley. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, received a mandatory request for information in August.