German court hears Facebook case on restricting data collection

US internet giant Facebook is opposing efforts by German competition authorities to restrict its data collection before a regional court in Dusseldorf on Wednesday.

In 2019, the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition authority, prohibited Facebook from linking user’s data from services such as Instagram and Whatsapp to their Facebook accounts without their express permission.

“It is a kind of internal unbundling of data processing on Facebook,” Bundeskartellamt President Andreas Mundt said at the time, meaning that consumers would be able to prevent Facebook from collecting and using their data without permission.

Facebook argues that users have the choice of using other platforms such as Youtube, Snapchat or Twitter if they do not wish their data to be shared, but competition authorities say the social media giant is abusing its dominant market position.

Facebook has not yet had to implement the requirements, rejecting claims that it is abusing its market position.

The dispute between the Bundeskartellamt and Facebook has been going on for the past two years. The Dusseldorf court already suspended the execution of the Bundeskartellamt’s requirements in mid-2019, but the Federal Court of Justice overturned that decision last year.

A ruling is not yet expected on Wednesday.

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