The antitrust watchdog of Germany looks forward to taking initial measures this year in its investigation against Facebook after discovering that the social media giant misused its market dominance to collect information on people devoid of their consent or knowledge.
The investigation is being closely observed in Europe amid increasing worries over data leaks on tens of millions of users of Facebook, as well as the widespread use of targeted advertisements by foreign powers trying to manipulate elections in the US.
The Federal Cartel Office particularly objects to how Facebook collects information on individuals from third-party applications—comprising its own Instagram and WhatsApp platforms—and its online trailing of individuals who are not even members.
For Facebook, the German investigation is not anticipated to end in penalties, contrary to the European Union inquests into Google that have concluded in multi-billion-dollar fines, most lately over the pre-installation of its applications on Android smartphones.
However, sources knowing the subject state that the cartel office can oblige Facebook to take steps to attend to its concerns if the firm falls short to do so willingly. Earlier this year, Facebook replied to the request of cartel office for data, and the authority was assessing whether new features—like a “clear history” option declared in May by CEO Mark Zuckerberg—would tackle its worries.
The focus would be on supposed “hybrid” platforms like Amazon, the US e-commerce giant, which retails their own services and products, but also horde third-party dealers. The cartel office wouldn’t be looking at assumed tax fudging by third-party dealers on e-commerce platforms—a problem that government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to deal with—stating this was an issue for economic policymakers.
According to another report, nearly a year after Google, Twitter, and Facebook initially testified jointly for Russian meddling in front of Congress, the 3 social media giants will be coming back on September 5 to Capitol Hill to talk regarding the election interference and censorship.