Germany’s top court, on Tuesday, ruled that Facebook abused its market position by illegally harvesting user data from multiple sources in the country, directing the company to comply to a similar decision which was made by the country’s antitrust watchdog last year. The ruling essentially prohibits the company from processing users’ data that it collects from its own services such as WhatsApp and Instagram, and other third-party websites and apps, without their consent, thus dealing a potential blow to the company's entire business model. The court held that Facebook used its dominance to collect data of users of third-party sites that used its “like" and “share” buttons, among other things. "The lack of choice of Facebook users not only affects their personal autonomy and the protection of their right to informational self-determination, which is also protected by the GDPR," it said. “There are neither serious doubts about Facebook’s dominant position on the German social network market nor the fact that Facebook is abusing this dominant position…As the market-dominating network operator, Facebook bears a special responsibility for maintaining still-existing competition in the social networking market,” the court added. Previous antitrust ruling In February last year, Germany’s antitrust watchdog had ruled that Facebook used its market position as a social media giant to track users illegally across the internet in order to maintain its position as the dominant online advertiser. The findings said that Facebook’s requirements from users allow it to “limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites.” The decision was hailed at…
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