Facebook has been the subject of scrutiny for a lot of things lately. The social media platform has ended up under the bus this time with official governing bodies of Europe. European regulators are imposing a stringent of laws and rules for Facebook to follow. Top among them if Germany’s competition authority, who recently accused Facebook of relying on third-party data on its users to gain a higher position in the market.
According to a report by The Guardian, President of Germany’s Federal Cartel Authority, Mr. Andreas Mundt released a statement on Tuesday, 20th December, wherein they criticized Facebook for gathering information from third-party platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram and then utilizing it for their marketing benefit.
“We are mostly concerned about the collection of data outside Facebook’s social network and the merging of this data into a user’s Facebook account,” he said. “This even happens when, for example, a user does not press a ‘like button’ but has called up a site into which such a button is embedded. Users are unaware of this,” he added. The anti-monopoly body went on to claim that Facebook has not taken the user’s content before tracking, collecting and merging user data from other platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram. This kind of unconsented practice “violates mandatory European data protection principles.”
Numerous German politicians encourage the competition authority to go a step forward in ensuring that the technology giants are punished for this exercise. “A reprimand is not enough,” says Sahra Wagenknecht, co-chair of Germany’s Left party. “Google and Facebook’s extreme market power has to be broken up by barring them from the mass theft of our data.”
The social media giant, however, denied that they make use of information from the platforms for this purpose. “Although Facebook is popular in Germany, we are not dominant,” Facebook’s head of data protection, Yvonne Cunnane said.