• Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s independent federal authority has prohibited the social networking company from merging data from multiple sources.
  • This mainly concerns data from Facebook-owned services such as Whatsapp and Instagram, as well as from third-party websites.

Earlier today, Facebook was slammed by Germany’s competition regulator Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) over its data collection and collation from multiple sources.

The federal authority has asked the social networking giant to obtain consent from users before merging the user data it collates from various sources, failing which, Facebook will be completely restricted to collect and combine data in the future.

Facebook is known to collect data from multiple sources including its own services such as Whatsapp and Instagram and is believed to combine it with users' Facebook profile data. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt told in a press release that the federal authority is conducting an extensive analysis surrounding the data processing policy of Facebook.

Authorities against Facebook's monopoly status

“We are carrying out what can be seen as an internal divestiture of Facebook’s data. 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 user accounts. The combination of data sources substantially contributed to the fact that Facebook was able to build a unique database for each individual user and thus to gain market power.” mentioned Mundt.

The federal authority also emphasized that Facebook and its affiliated services, Whatsapp and Instagram, were likely to create a ‘monopolisation’ in the world. In addition, it believed that Facebook was abusing user data, citing that this data was passed on to other third-party websites for analytics.

Bundeskartellamt also worked with various data protection authorities to look into what data was being analyzed.

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