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German antitrust bods set to bark at Facebook over data collection

GERMAN ANTITRUST BODS are finally preparing to take action against Facebook in the country, following a lengthy investigation stretching all the way back to 2015, Bild am Sonntag reports.

The Federal Cartel Office is expected to tell Facebook that it needs to reign in the amount of data it collects on people. Specifically, the report is expected to be particularly critical of the way Facebook shares data with other apps and sites – including those in the Zuckerberg’s own basket: WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The regulators have already ruled that Facebook has abused its unassailable position in the country to collect user information without knowledge or consent (a verdict Facebook continues to dispute) and this latest development is more about finessing how to tackle the problem.

Bild believes that the regulators are more inclined to put a deadline on things, rather than forcing Facebook to change its ways immediately – but if it doesn’t, Facebook could face fines of up to €10m. Which Zuckerberg could probably gather by checking behind the sofa, but for most people, it’s a big sum.

If this proves to be the watchdog’s verdict, then it won’t prevent Facebook collecting data, but it will put limits on how it does so. And even though this ruling only applies to Germany, Facebook may decide that it’s just easier to apply the necessary changes worldwide, rather than make awkward exceptions for just one territory.

Of course, if it doesn’t like the sound of this massive undertaking, Facebook could just decide to shut down in Germany. That would involve losing approximately 40 million customers, but that only comes to around two per cent of the worldwide membership, so manageable if the social network thinks it can handle the resulting PR fallout. µ

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Source : Inquirer

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