The FCO said, though, that Facebook will need to obtain users' voluntary consent to merge their data from their Facebook accounts with that from third party websites or other Facebook-owned services, like WhatsApp and Instagram.
German authorities ruled Thursday that Facebook should not be allowed to use customer data from other apps and websites to help target advertisements shown on their Facebook pages without their explicit consent, saying it was exploiting its dominant position in social media.
Facebook is considering appealing on the data protection issues to the European Court of Justice, but here the Cartel Office may also have the upper hand, said Vinje, the lawyer.
Furthermore, regarding the merging of its messaging service, Germany also raised privacy concerns and has blocked Facebook's Messenger-Instagram-WhatsApp merger. Sadly, Facebook will not be able to do it in Germany as Germany national competition regulator has ordered Facebook to stop combining user date from different sources without their consent.
The ruling could not only limit the value the company extracts from its own users' information but also restrict its ability to track people without a Facebook account, who now have no way of consenting to data collection. Between the two, Facebook gets more data.
"The Bundeskartellamt's decision misapplies German competition law to set different rules that apply to only one company", Facebook said.
"The only choice the user has is either to accept the comprehensive combination of data or to refrain from using the social network", Mundt said. "The Tyee is now reporting that Facebook has told them that RBC had the capacity to read, write and delete private messages of Facebook users who were using the banking app".
The agency's boss Andreas Mundt said: 'As a dominant company Facebook is subject to special obligations under competition law. And Facebook is not happy about it, to say the least.
The company also claimed the FCO had misinterpreted its compliance with European Union data protection laws and was acting beyond the scope of its powers by interfering in data protection matters.
While Facebook is less widely used in Germany than in some other western countries, it has 32 million monthly active users in a population of 83 million and controls more than 95 per cent of the country's social media. In... Even if a website has no visible signs of a link to Facebook, it could still send user data to the company by using the Facebook Analytics service in the background.
European regulators have always been concerned about Facebook's plans to deepen the integrating of WhatsApp. having previously fined Facebook 110 million euros for failing to tell them about the ability to combine the data when they examined the deal.
Facebook disagreed with the conclusions of the regulator's investigation and said it intends to appeal the decision. "Yet the Bundeskartellamt is trying to implement an unconventional standard for a single company", Facebook said. When users provide social media networks with data through social games and memes, like the 10-Year Challenge, they risk their privacy.
'In such a hard situation the user's choice can not be referred to as voluntary consent'. And, over the years, companies have become more transparent and consumers have learned more about how digital platforms operate.