German antitrust watchdog 'optimistic' Facebook enforcement action will come this year

German antitrust watchdog 'optimistic' Facebook enforcement action will come this year
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The president of Germany’s antitrust authority on Monday said that he’s “very optimistic” that his group will pursue an enforcement action on Facebook this year for allegedly abusing its dominant market position.

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“We are currently evaluating Facebook’s opinion on our preliminary assessment and I’m very optimistic that we are going to take further steps, even this year, whatever this would mean,” Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt said during a conference on competition law in Berlin, according to Reuters.

The Federal Cartel Office is deliberating on action against Facebook over its data collection practices, in regard to its market dominance. The office is concerned that Facebook may have collected data from users without properly obtaining consent and has concerns about how the company has collected data from its subsidiary apps such as Whatsapp and Instagram.

Mundt had previously said in August that he hoped to take action against Facebook this year, but did not elaborate.

The office is not expected to fine Facebook though. It will instead try to compel it to comply with its rulings, according to Reuters.

The forthcoming coming enforcement action would only be the latest headache for the social media giant. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating Facebook’s privacy practices, which could result in further penalties for the company.

Facebook is also still dealing with the fallout of a cybersecurity breach affecting 50 million of its users that it revealed on Friday. It could face a massive $1.63 billion fine if it's found to be in violation of Europe's strict, new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission already told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday that it is probing Facebook for more details about the beach and is “concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point.”