Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that Facebook needed explicit users’ consent before it merged their Facebook data with data from other sources, including from Instagram and WhatsApp.
“Facebook must give users the choice to reveal less about themselves – above all what they reveal outside of Facebook,” said Peter Meier-Beck, the lead judge, according to Reuters.
The legal dispute between the US tech giant and Germany’s antitrust watchdog began in February 2019, when the Federal Cartel Office ruled that Facebook would only be able to use data from various non-Facebook programs and apps that it owns, with explicit user consent, or risk facing billions in fines. Facebook filed an appeal and a lower court ruled that the tech giant did not need to comply until there is a final court decision.
The Karlsruhe-based court overruled on Tuesday the lower court’s decision and backed the Federal Cartel Office’s view that Facebook abused its dominant position on social media to illegally collect users’ data through its various social plug-ins and tracking pixels.
“As the market-dominating network operator, Facebook bears a special responsibility for maintaining still-existing competition in the social networking market,” reads the court’s ruling.
Bundesgerichtshof bestätigt vorläufig den Vorwurf der missbräuchlichen Ausnutzung einer marktbeherrschenden Stellung durch Facebook https://t.co/KzTpJakvgq
— Bundesgerichtshof (@BGH_Bund) June 23, 2020