Germany’s Highest Court Rules Facebook Illegally Combines Users’ Data, Abusing Its Market Dominance

June 24, 2020

In an important decision for data privacy, Germany's Federal Court of Justice sided with antitrust regulators in a case challenging Facebook’s practice of combining user data across different sources, including WhatsApp and Instagram. The Court held that Facebook’s terms of use were abusive because they did not allow users to use the platform without also consenting to Facebook’s collection of their data from other sites. The decision emphasized Facebook’s dominant market position in Germany and recognized that Facebook thus had a special responsibility towards maintaining market competition. EPIC has repeatedly urged U.S. antitrust agencies to more aggressively regulate Facebook and other platforms, whose large mergers compromise user privacy and consolidate market power in a handful of companies. EPIC recently objected to the FTC’s settlement with Facebook. EPIC continues to work with international stakeholders to ensure user privacy.

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