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Meta appears to have not just opened a can of worms, but tipped that can all over itself, with its music-licensing dispute in Italy.

Collecting society SIAE criticised Meta last month for removing its repertoire from the social giant’s licensed music library. Now Italy’s competition watchdog AGCM has announced an investigation into whether Meta’s move was ‘abuse of economic dependence’ during its licensing negotiations with SIAE.

“Meta could have unduly interrupted the negotiations for renovating the expired contract,” claimed AGCM, adding that the removal may have also “denied to SIAE all the information needed to carry out negotiations based on the principles of transparency and equity, as requested by the Italian relevant legislation”.

The watchdog warned that the dispute may harm not just the songwriters and publishers whose repertoire is represented by SIAE, but also members of other collecting societies whose rights it co-manages, and the fans who are unable to use recordings of the affected works in their social content.

In a statement to Reuters, Meta said it would “fully cooperate with the inquiry”.

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