Facebook Loses Court Dispute with German Antitrust Agency
Facebook cannot unite user data from WhatsApp and Instagram without the consent of users, the German Federal Court of Justice decided, taking the side of the antitrust authority of Germany.
The social network Facebook cannot, without the consent of users, bring together user personal data collected using third-party services, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) decided on Tuesday, June 23. It is about collecting data using WhatsApp, Instagram, as well as websites and applications of other operators, which the social network can access through the interface.
Thus, the court upheld the decision of the Federal Cartel Office, which in February 2019 imposed a number of restrictions on Facebook regarding the processing of collected data. The regulator considered that the social network dominates the German market and abuses it to collect and analyze user data without their consent.
Representatives of Facebook appealed against the position of the antitrust authority in the High Land Court in Dusseldorf. The leadership of the social network emphasized that the German regulator underestimates the seriousness of competition for Facebook from YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter. A court in Dusseldorf suspended the decision of the Federal Cartel Office in August.
Head of the antitrust authority of Germany Andreas Mundt approved the decision of BGH. In his opinion, data is a decisive criterion in assessing the market situation. If the collection and use of data occurs in violation of the law, antitrust laws should provide for the possibility of intervention in order to prevent abuse of a dominant position, Mundt emphasized.