The Federal Cartel Office, Germany’s antitrust watchdog, is severely restricting the collection of user data by Facebook after a ruling on Thursday that the social media giant abused its market.
The company will only be able to use data from various non-Facebook programs and apps that it owns, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, with explicit user consent. Currently, Facebook bundles together much of the information it gleans from users across its various platforms.
“In future, Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook accounts,” Andreas Mundt, president of the antitrust watchdog, said on Thursday in Bonn.
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The ruling, which came after a one-year investigation, does not yet have legal force and Facebook have a month to appeal the ruling, which it says it intends to do.
“The Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) underestimates the fierce competition we face in Germany, misinterprets our compliance with the GDPR, and threatens the mechanism European law provides for ensuring consistent data protection standards across the EU,” Facebook said.
dv/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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