The Federal Cartel Office (Germany’s antitrust watchdog) that had been investigating Facebook since 2015 found that the social media giant had abused its powers to gather personal data on users without their consent.
They accuse Facebook of giving users an all-or-nothing choice between submitting to unlimited data collection or not using Facebook at all. They also prohibit Facebook in merging user data between its subsidiaries and third-party websites (like Instagram and WhatsApp).
The German ruling applies to all German Facebook users and if the decision is upheld, Facebook must develop solutions within four months to meet the watchdog’s requirements.
These have been turbulent times for the social media giant since last year’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the penalty levied by the ICO at Facebook for abusing user data.
Whatever the decision its effects will likely ripple through to other EU countries and the strive to unify data privacy regulations.