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Germany: Antitrust regulator to go after Facebook this year

 |  August 27, 2018

Germany’s antitrust regulator expects to take first steps this year in its probe against Facebook after finding that the social media giant abused its market dominance to gather data on people without their knowledge or consent, reported Reuters.

The Federal Cartel Office is focusing on protecting competition in the digital economy through a strategy “against big internet companies,” its President Andreas Mundt said at a press conference in Bonn on Monday, August 27. The approach consists of two layers: keeping markets open for new players, and making sure consumers can pick products and services in a fair and transparent environment.

The Federal Cartel Office objects in particular to how Facebook acquires data on people from third-party apps—including its own WhatsApp and Instagram services—and its online tracking of people who aren’t even members.

“We are conscious that this should, and must, go quickly,” Mundt told a news conference on Monday, adding that he hoped to take the “first steps” this year. He declined to elaborate.

The German probe is not expected to end in fines for Facebook, in contrast to European Union probes into Google that have ended in multi-billion-dollar penalties, most recently over the preinstallation of its apps on Android smartphones.

Sources familiar with the matter say, however, that the cartel office could require Facebook to take action to address its concerns if the company fails to do so voluntarily.

Full Content: Reuters

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