Facebook’s Abuse Investigation in Germany and Some Thoughts on Cooperation Between Antitrust and Data Protection Authorities

By Peter Stauber – 

On February 7, 2019, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) concluded its investigation into Facebook for abusing its market dominant position by means of its terms of service governing the scope of its data collection practices. As a result, the FCO ordered Facebook to undertake significant changes to the terms of services applying to users based in Germany. More precisely, Facebook is required to grant users a real choice whether to consent to the collection and use of their personal data from other websites and applications than the Facebook website. The decision is important particularly for companies with data-driven business models. Moreover, the decision also highlights the interaction between data protection and antitrust laws and thus, it may also provide guidance on the cooperation between data protection and antitrust authorities in the future.

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