FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s competition watchdog has found that Facebook abused its dominant market position, challenging the U.S. social network’s model of monetizing the personal data of its 2 billion users worldwide through targeted advertising.
Presenting preliminary findings of its 20-month-old probe, the Federal Cartel Office said Facebook held a dominant position among social networks – a characterization the company dismissed as “inaccurate”.
The case is being closely watched in Germany, where concerns over data privacy are strong due to a history of state surveillance under Nazi and Communist rule. Facebook has been running an ad campaign to try to allay those fears.
Separately, Berlin will introduce a law in the new year imposing fines of up to 50 million euros ($59 million) on social media platforms that fail quickly to remove posts that propagate hate speech – a crime in Germany.
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