The country’s antitrust watchdog objected in particular to how Facebook pools data on people from third-party apps – including its own WhatsApp and Instagram – and its online tracking of people who aren’t even members through Facebook ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons. “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 accounts,” Federal Cartel Office chief Andreas Mundt said. Facebook should develop proposals to do this within 12 months, subject to the outcome of appeal proceedings at the Duesseldorf Higher Regional Court that should be filed within a month.
If Facebook fails to comply, the cartel office said it could impose fines of up to 10 percent of the company’s annual global revenues. The cartel office said Facebook would only be allowed to assign data from WhatsApp or Instagram to its main Facebook app accounts if users consented voluntarily. CFacebook said it would appeal the decision. “We disagree with their conclusions and intend to appeal so that people in Germany continue to benefit fully from all our services.”