Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook hit with German court order

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The Bundeskartellamt says Facebook users have only been able to use the social network on the condition that it can collect user data "outside of the Facebook website in the internet or on smartphone apps and assign these data to the user's Facebook account".

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.

Facebook claims the Federal Cartel Office has overstepped the mark by pursuing a data privacy matter that Facebook says falls under the remit of another regulator.

The FCO was also concerned by the fact that Facebook shares some of the data gathered by Instagram, WhatsApp and its other services with its namesake platform.

'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'. The FCO concluded that this practice is neither justified under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) nor appropriate under competition law standards applicable to monopolists.

Germany's antitrust agency today issued a ruling that seeks to limit what Facebook Inc. can do with user data from its services and the broader web. And it will cost more to split various data points for one country or region only, while the rest of the world just rides along the company's decisions. "And Facebook exploits this mercilessly - 'Give me your data or you're an outsider.' That's clearly an abuse of a dominant market position". Facebook adviser criticises "lax" child checks Facebook broke German privacy laws, court rules In addition, the company runs a scheme called the Facebook Pixel, which adds code to a third-party site to let its owners track whether ads run on Facebook converted the people who saw them into buyers.

Facebook has a dominant position in the German market with 23 million daily active users, 32 million monthly active users and a market share of more than 95 percent in daily active users and more than 80 percent in monthly active users, the Bundeskartellamt said. Facebook's actions are done on the basis of collecting information regarding the users to build an accurate picture in order to sell relevant advertisements. Even if a website has no visible signs of a link to Facebook, it could still send user data to the company by using the Facebook Analytics service in the background.

According to the New York Times, Facebook allowed Spotify, Netflix, and RBC the ability to "read, write and delete users' private messages, and to see all participants on a thread - privileges that appeared to go beyond what the companies needed to integrate Facebook into their systems, the records show". "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. "These reports fit with longstanding concerns that Facebook has used its products to deeply intrude into personal privacy". Facebook has already announced that it will appeal the decision.

'In such a hard situation the user's choice can not be referred to as voluntary consent'.

The practise becomes a bit more nefarious however.