German competition watchdog wants to take first steps against Facebook this year

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The German competition watchdog says it wants to take the first steps against Facebook this year. The watchdog believes that the company is infringing competition rules with the data collection from sources such as WhatsApp and Instagram; Facebook would abuse its power.

Reuters writes that Andres Mundt, the chairman of the German Bundeskartellamt, announced the intention at a meeting for journalists. Mundt says it is aware that action must be taken quickly. He did not say what steps his organization is considering. Reuters reports based on its own sources that it is probably not a fine, but certain requirements of the watchdog that Facebook must meet. The chairman said he was looking at whether an opt-out proposed by Facebook in May would meet the watchdog’s demands.

The organization launched an investigation into Facebook in March 2016 on the basis of a suspicion that the company is abusing its market dominance in the social networking market by applying abusive terms. Those would be unclear about what exactly users agree to.

At the end of last year, the watchdog presented a preliminary conclusion of the investigation, in which the organization stated that Facebook is acting unlawfully by collecting data from sources such as WhatsApp and Instagram. By making use of its service dependent on this, Facebook is therefore abusing its dominant position. Facebook did not agree with this estimate at the time.

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