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Facebook has once again come under fire for its privacy policies. Germany's Federal Cartel Office is investigating whether the world's largest social networking company abuses its dominance to harvest personal information. In February, Facebook was pulled up by French authorities in a similar probe for tracking non-users data and sending them to the US.
"For advertising-financed internet services such as Facebook, user data are hugely important. For this reason it is essential to also examine under the aspect of abuse of market power whether the consumers are sufficiently informed about the type and extent of data collected," said Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt.
This time too, like France, the German watchdog plans to examine whether users were properly informed about how their personal data would be obtained by the company. The German Competition Authority, which brought the issue to light, said it was difficult for users to understand and assess the scope of the agreement accepted by them on Facebook.
A Facebook spokeswoman did not comment on the merits of the case but said: "We are confident that we comply with the law, and we look forward to working with the Federal Cartel Office to answer their questions."
Germany had previously come down heavily on the social networking giant. In January, the country's highest court declared Facebook's "friend finder" to be unlawful, deeming it as an advertising harassment that encourages users to market the social media network to their contacts. In the past, EU officials also have backed the view that Facebook's use of data might expose it to regulatory action on competition grounds.
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