Facebook News: Germany's Antitrust Office Might Act Soon Against The Social Media Company

Facebook may face more antitrust action from Europe. An illustration picture taken on April 26, 2018 in Paris shows the logo of social network Facebook displayed on a screen and reflected on a tablet. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

By Alex Perry, International Business Times

For at least the third time in the past two weeks, Facebook was threatened by a European government agency over its business practices. The head of Germany’s main competition office said Monday that his agency would likely take some kind of action against Facebook on antitrust grounds before the end of 2018, Reuters reported.

Antitrust law in Germany is regulated by the country’s Federal Cartel Office. Agency president Andreas Mundt expressed hope that the office would do something about Facebook’s data collection practices in the coming months in a conference on Monday.

“We are currently evaluating Facebook’s opinion on our preliminary assessment and I’m very optimistic that we are going to take further steps, even this year, whatever this would mean,” Mundt said, per Reuters.

The Federal Cartel Office’s main grievance with Facebook is that the company has allegedly used its massive reach to gather too much data about its users. Facebook collects highly specific information about its users and their friends as part of its revenue-driving targeted advertising operation, but it has come under fire multiple times in 2018 for possibly going too far.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal saw 87 million Facebook users in the United States have their data harvested and sold to a right-wing election consulting firm. It was initially thought that a few million of those affected were in Europe, but Facebook disputed that in June.

Facebook also came under fire for reportedly giving widespread data access to more than 50 hardware companies, including a few Chinese firms that U.S. officials have flagged as possible national security threats. There was some concern that users were giving over large amounts of personal information without their explicit consent.

In late September, the European Union told Facebook it needed to fully comply with the newly enforced General Data Protection Regulation, or possibly face sanctions. The law, which went into effect earlier this year, forces tech companies to be more transparent about how consumer data is used, among other things.

Facebook came under the GDPR spotlight again late last week when the company announced tens of millions of users may have had their data stolen by hackers. The social network could be fined as much as $1.63 billion for any privacy violations it committed related to the data breach.

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Business - U.S. Daily News: Facebook News: Germany's Antitrust Office Might Act Soon Against The Social Media Company
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