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The European Court Of Justice In Meta Platforms Leaves Competition And Data Protection Authorities With An Assignment

 |  July 26, 2023

By: Inge Graef (European Law Blog)

Competition authorities can identify a violation of the data protection rules when such a finding is necessary to establish an abuse of dominance under the competition rules. This is the main outcome of the judgment that the Court delivered in Meta Platforms on 4 July 2023.

The judgment is the next step in the saga that started with the 2019 competition decision of the Bundeskartellamt (the German Federal Cartel Office) requiring Facebook (now Meta) to refrain from combining user data from different sources beyond its social network.

The judgment provides a welcome confirmation that data protection standards can also matter for the interpretation of the competition rules. However, what is more remarkable and less expected is the general framework the Court sets out for coordination between competition and data protection authorities building on the duty of sincere cooperation and the clarity with which it evaluates the different legal bases Meta invoked for processing user data.

The judgment can become a reference point for assessing the legality of personal data processing by dominant firms, but also leaves competition and data protection authorities with an assignment to explore how to coordinate their work in the future…