Germany’s cartel office investigating Facebook’s data-collection practices

Germany’s cartel office investigating Facebook’s data-collection practices

On Wednesday, the German Federal Cartel Office -- the Bundeskartellamt -- announced that it has initiated an investigation into US- based social network Facebook over the company's controversial data-collection practices.

Accusing Facebook of violation of data protection regulation in Germany, the Bundeskartellament said that it has launched proceedings against Facebook Inc., USA, as well as Facebook Germany GmbH and the social networking company's branch in Ireland.

According to a Reuters report, the investigation which Bundeskartellamt has initiated into Facebook's contentious policies chiefly revolves around the company's alleged "abuse of market power over breaches of data protection laws."

The main accusation against Facebook is that that it employs illegal terms and conditions for collection of personal data of its users, and also for the subsequent use of that data. Facebook shares the personal data of users with advertisers, so as to enable them to rollout targeted ads to customers on the social networking site.

Highlighting the fact that user data is "hugely important" for an ad-funded Internet service like Facebook, the Bundeskartellamt's President Andreas Mundt said: "For this reason it is essential to also examine under the aspect of abuse of market power whether the consumers are sufficiently informed about the type and extent of data collected."