German antitrust authorities restrict Facebook data use

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BERLIN (AP) – German antitrust authorities have issued a ruling prohibiting Facebook from combining user data from different sources.

The Bundeskartellamt says Facebook users have only been able to use the social network on the condition that it can collect user data “outside of the Facebook website in the internet or on smartphone apps and assign these data to the user’s Facebook account.” This includes assigning data from Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as third-party websites, to a Facebook user account.

Bundeskartellamt president Andreas Mundt said Thursday that the ruling means “Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts.”

Facebook said it rejects the decision, and will appeal.

FILE- In this May 18, 2012, file photo a television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook says it has removed 783 Iran-linked pages, accounts and groups from its service for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” that is, misrepresenting who is running the accounts with the intent of disrupting politics and elections. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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