German watchdog will reportedly order Facebook to stop gathering some data

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The option to delete Facebook is displayed in German. A watchdog group in the country is reportedly preparing to crack down on the social network’s data sharing practices.


Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Techhnews

A German antitrust watchdog will order Facebook to stop gathering some user data, according to a report.

The Federal Cartel Office, known locally as the Bundeskartellamt, is mainly concerned about the data sharing with apps and sites outside Facebook — including Twitter and the Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday.

The group’s been investigating Facebook for years and already found that the company abused its market dominance to gather data on people without their knowledge or consent, Reuters noted.

It’ll present the social network with a ruling on the action must it take in the coming weeks, but Bild reported that the Bundeskartellamt will most likely set a deadline for compliance instead of demanding immediate action.

If Facebook doesn’t comply, it could be hit with a fine of 10 million euros (around $11.5 million/£9 million/AU$16 million).

“Since 2016, we have been in regular contact with the Bundeskartellamt and have responded to their requests,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

“As we outlined publicly in 2017, we disagree with their views and the conflation of data protection laws and antitrust laws, and will continue to defend our position.”


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The Bundeskartellamt said it can’t comment on the ongoing proceeding.

Facebook previously faced German scrutiny over hate speech and fake news, and a different watchdog group sued its WhatsApp messaging app over privacy concerns.

In the US, it’s being sued by the DC attorney general over allegations it failed to safeguard its users by allowing UK political consultancy Cambridge Analytica access to their personal data.

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