The American Meta (Facebook) loses a round against the German gendarme of the competition

The American Meta (Facebook) loses a round against the German gendarme of the competition

The social networking giant Meta, parent company of Facebook, suffered a setback on Tuesday in European justice where it challenges the ban imposed by the German competition policeman on the use of users’ personal data.

A competition authority “may, in the exercise of its powers, take into account the compatibility of a commercial practice with the general regulation on data protection (GDPR)” in force in Europe, considers in its opinion the Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the EU Athanasios Rantos.

The Advocate General’s conclusions are not binding on the Court of Justice, but this court often follows them when delivering its judgment.

Meta collects data from services other than Facebook, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as websites third parties that are viewed by users.

The German Federal Competition Authority prohibited Meta from implementing this policy and ordered it to cease these practices.

His argument: the data processing in question does not comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and thus constitutes a abuse of Meta’s dominant position on social networks.

Meta, for its part, disputes this competence attributed to the competition policeman and appealed against this decision before a German court in Düsseldorf, which referred the case to the European judge.

The judgment to follow could well validate a recurring European criticism against Gafam, namely the contentious, even uncontrolled, use of users’ personal data.

In 2018, Brussels erected a safeguard with the introduction of the GDPR, which has established itself as a global benchmark in this area.

Businesses must seek citizens’ consent when requesting their personal data, inform them of the use that will be made of it and allow them to delete the data.

However, according to the Advocate General, the mere consultation of websites and applications until the activation of selection buttons integrated into them does not constitute consent by the user to the use of his personal data.

Violations can be punished with heavy fines.

At the beginning of September, the Irish regulator imposed a record fine of 405 million euros on Instagram for failures to process the data of minors. Meta said he plans to appeal the decision.

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