German legal ruling deals with Facebook hit in data usage

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BERLIN (AP) – Facebook’s fight against German regulators was hit on Tuesday after a high court with antitrust authorities agreed that the company was abusing its dominant market position in using user data to better target ads.

The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, determined last year that Facebook exploited its dominance on social media to force users to share data from other Facebook services such as WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as third-party websites through the “Like” and ” Share ”buttons.

It gave Facebook several months to stop collecting data and combine it with Facebook users’ accounts without their permission.

Facebook appealed that decision, and a court in Düsseldorf ruled that it did not have to comply with the rules until the case was decided.

In its decision Tuesday, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe overturned that decision, in accordance with the cartel agency that Facebook’s terms of use “leave no choice to private Facebook users” and said the company should abide by the regulators.

“There are no serious doubts about Facebook’s dominant position in the German social media network market, or whether Facebook is abusing its dominant position with the terms of use prohibited by the Federal Cartel Office,” the court said.

Facebook said the decision would not mean immediate changes for people or companies using its products and services in Germany. It noted that the appeal is still pending.

“Today’s decision pertains to preliminary injunction against the court suspension order,” the company said in a statement to The Associated Press. “The main proceedings, at the appeals court, are still pending and we will continue to defend our position that there is no anti-trust abuse.”

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