German cartel office to take Facebook case to court

Germany’s cartel office said on Monday it’d appeal a regional court call to suspend restrictions it had placed on Facebook’s information collection practices to the country’s highest court.

A court in Duesseldorf had earlier suspended a February call by the Federal cartel office to order Facebook (FB.O) to limit its information collection in Germany.

“We are convinced that with the obtainable antitrust laws we can take regulatory action,” Andreas Mundt, the top of the cartel office, said in a statement. “To clarify these queries we will file an appeal to the federal court of Justice.”

Facebook appealed February’s landmark call by the cartel office that the world’s largest social network abused its dominant market position to collect info regarding users without their consent.

The Higher Regional Court in Duesseldorf said in its ruling earlier on Monday: “The suspension of the order means Facebook doesn’t have to implement the choice of the Federal cartel office for the present time.”

Facebook, the world’s largest social network, declined to comment.
The court said its temporary injunction removing restrictions on Facebook’s information gathering would be valid till it had created a final decision on the company’s appeal.

Germany, where privacy considerations run deep, is at the forefront of a worldwide backlash against Facebook, fueled by last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users’ consent.

The antitrust watchdog objected above all to how Facebook pools information from third-party apps – as well as its own WhatsApp and Instagram – and its on-line tracking of individuals who aren’t members through Facebook ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons.

Last month, Facebook said it’d improve user information safeguards as a part of a settlement to resolve a U.S. government probe into its privacy practices, which resulted in a $5 billion fine.

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