German competition watchdog to rule on Facebook, Europe News & Top Stories

German competition watchdog to rule on Facebook, Europe News & Top Stories

If the ruling is upheld, Facebook will be required to allow users to specifically approve data collected from other Facebook-owned sources and third-party websites assigned to their accounts.

The company also said the FCO underestimated the fierce competition it faces in Germany from other online services and questioned whether it was the appropriate body to investigate data complaints. One of the key reasons that Facebook is reportedly considering such a merger is to avoid regulation - if all of its platforms are integrated in its back-end, there's no untangling them, Facebook couldn't be ordered, as it has been here, to separate such data points and seek individual permission for usage.

Facebook would only be allowed to assign data from WhatsApp or Instagram to its main Facebook app accounts with voluntary consent from its users.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley on Thursday welcomed a crackdown by Germany's antitrust watchdog on Facebook's data collection practices, saying the company was collecting data far beyond its platform.

The ruling could not only limit the value the company extracts from its own users' information but also restrict its ability to track people without a Facebook account, who now have no way of consenting to data collection. "It is therefore precisely in the area of data collection and data use where Facebook, as a dominant company, must comply with the rules and laws applicable in Germany and Europe".

"We write concerned about reports that Facebook is collecting highly-sensitive data on teenagers, including their web browsing, phone use, communications, and locations-all to profile their behavior without adequate disclosure, consent, or oversight", Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) wrote the tech giant on Thursday. It should develop proposals to do this within 12 months, subject to the outcome of appeal proceedings at the Duesseldorf Higher Regional Court that should be filed within a month. The order also applies to the data Facebook gathers through the millions of outside websites that use its social integrations. However, the collection of user data on Facebook's part has been a source of concern for many users.

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"It's limited to Germany but strikes me as exportable and might have a significant impact on Facebook's business model", he said.

Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram can continue to collect data.

And, it protects the user's safety, the firm claims. Two and a half billion people compares to 2.23 billion monthly users on Facebook, 1 billion users on Instagram, 1.5 billion users on WhatsApp and 1.3 billion users on Messenger. "In the operation of its business model the company must take into account that Facebook users practically can not switch to other social networks", said Mundt.

The EU introduced its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May past year, intensifying regulators' focus on Facebook. "The only choice the user has is either to accept the comprehensive combination of data or to refrain from using the social network".

The issue stems back to a payments feature Royal Bank developed and offered customers between 2013 and 2015, allowing them to transfer money through Facebook's messaging system.

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