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Germany to restrict Facebook from collecting data

Facebook data collection
Germany restricts Facebook from involuntary data collection

Germany becomes the first country to attempt to regulate data being collected by Facebook.

According to a ruling by German regulators, Facebook will have to stop automatically collecting data from German citizens and instead have to provide the users a choice to opt-in.

Facebook’s terms and conditions specify that for a user to use the social media site, one has to allow Facebook to collect their data.

Double trouble

According to the German regulators, Bundeskartellamt, the decision restricts Facebook from automatically collecting data from all its services including WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook also has to ask users for voluntary consent and in case the user does provide consent with their data from different apps cannot be processed in combination with Facebook data.

Facebook is also restricted from combining data collected from the third party websites only if the users provide voluntary consent.

In future, Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts.

Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt

The ruling only affects the German Facebook users for now, which numbers just over 30 million of over 2 billion total users that Facebook has.

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Facebook’s dominant position requires special obligations

The German regulators’ decision to curtail Facebook’s data collection due to their domant market postion, and protecting user’s consent.

Facebook’s market power means the extent of data collected and used would consiture abuse of dominant position, according to the Bundeskartellamt.

In the case of Facebook they are the essential factor for establishing the company‚Äôs dominant position.”, stated Mr. Mundt, “ On the one hand there is a service provided to users free of charge. On the other hand, the attractiveness and value of the advertising spaces increase with the amount and detail of user data. 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 ruling comes amidst several cases of data misuse originating from Facebook.

Facebook has a month to appeal the decision.

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