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German competition authorities take Facebook to task

Neil Hodge | February 8, 2019

Germany’s competition regulator has told Facebook to “substantially restrict” how it collects and combines data about its users unless they give it explicit consent.

The Bundeskartellamt said the social media giant has effectively abused its dominant position to gather users’ personal information via Facebook, its other apps (including Instagram and WhatsApp), and third parties by forcing consumers to give blanket approval to its terms and conditions without users really knowing the extent to which their data would be shared—or for what purpose.

In a background note, the Bundeskartellamt says “social networks are data-driven products. Where access to the personal data of users is essential for the market position of a company, the question of how that company handles the personal data of its users is not only relevant for data protection authorities,...

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