EU to monitor antitrust and promote healthy competition in the metaverse


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Steve Kaaru

The European Commission is keeping an eye on the metaverse for healthy competition, the region’s antitrust chief has revealed.

In her speech at a conference in Brussels, Belgium, the EU’s competition and digital affairs commissioner Margrethe Vestager told the attendees that the region must adapt and react to new market dynamics in the digital era.

The EU must anticipate and plan for change, “given the obvious fact that our enforcement and legislative process will always be slower than the markets themselves,” Vestager stated during the event, organized by Keystone Strategy.

“For example, it is already time for us to start asking what healthy competition should look like in the Metaverse, or how something like ChatGPT may change the equation,” she noted.

The EU has ramped up its antitrust efforts as it seeks to give smaller companies in the region a chance against Big Tech. It has opened antitrust investigations against some of the world’s largest companies, from Meta (NASDAQ: META) and Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).

One company Vestager and her team have focused on is Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and many other tech companies. In December, the European Commission issued a list of objections against the Facebook Marketplace, the social media network’s e-commerce platform. Meta could end up forking out $12 billion in penalties if found guilty.

Vestager’s history of actions against Meta will come in handy as she seeks to police the metaverse. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company is one of the frontrunners in the emerging metaverse industry. As CoinGeek reported, the company lost $14 billion in 2022 through Reality Labs, its metaverse and virtual reality division, but it has pledged to keep splashing the cash despite the huge loss.

With the tech giants like Meta and Apple already investing billions in developing a closed ecosystem that gives them the advantage, antitrust will become critical in the metaverse.

Watch: Masters of the Metaverse

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