German antitrust watchdog to take action on Facebook this year

German antitrust watchdog to take action on Facebook this year
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Germany’s antitrust watchdog is planning on taking the first steps in its investigation of Facebook after alleging that the company abused its market dominance with data collection practices.

“We are conscious that this should, and must, go quickly,” Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said on Monday in a news conference, according to Reuters. Mundt noted that he planned on taking the “first steps” this year, without specifying what they might be.

The country had previously ruled that Facebook had taken advantage of its dominant position in the market to obtain user data in a way that did not clearly establish meaningful consent.

The company has since responded to the German watchdog's office and introduced a new feature called “clear history.”

The office is checking to see whether this properly addresses its concerns.

“We need to establish whether this affects our investigation and addresses our concerns,” Mundt said.

The office said it specifically is worried about how the social media platform is gathering information on users from third-party apps, including Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Instagram.

Facebook has endured massive, worldwide scrutiny since disclosures this year that Cambridge Analytica, a British research firm used by the Trump campaign, improperly obtained data from 87 million Facebook users.

Facebook was criticized for not being diligent enough in making sure that the firm had deleted the data after this initially came to light and for how cavalier it operated with vast amounts of its users' data.