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Regulators have a lot on their minds these days. From tackling the global health crisis to building sustainable energy infrastructure, it's a full docket.

On Thursday, regulators in the U.K. and the EU launched probes into two highly controversial topics: memes and chocolate.

Get a Whiff of Gif
The Competition and Markets Authority (the U.K.’s main competition watchdog) has opened a formal investigation into Facebook’s $400 million acquisition of Giphy, the animated sticker database.

The move comes eight months after the CMA forced Facebook to suspend the integration of Giphy into its operations while the CMA examined the deal's effect on competition:

  • The concern is Zuck & co. will be able to use Giphy as a vehicle to uncover data about competing apps and their users (Giphy is integrated with TikTok, Twitter and Apple iMessage).

The CMA will now have until March 25th to decide whether to up its initial investigation into an in-depth probe.

Chocolatier Profiteer
Regulators in Brussels have opened a formal antitrust investigation into whether Mondelez, the maker of Cadbury chocolate, has restricted competition by hindering cross-border trading of its products across the EU.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s executive vice-president for competition, said, “chocolates, biscuits and coffee are products consumed by European citizens daily.” That we already knew.

But Ms. Vestager expressed concern the chocolate maker interfered with a practice known as parallel trade, through which traders can buy products cheaper in one member state and resell them elsewhere in the EU:

  • The Commission accused Mondelez of imposing restrictions on languages used in packaging in order to prevent cross-border trade.
  • Mondelez may have also refused to supply some traders in an effort to curb imports into certain markets, according to the report.

The Takeaway: Whether it's paying too much for a Toblerone or having your memes spied on, there is a lot on the table.

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