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Bundeskartellamt initiates proceeding against Facebook

Date of issue: 02.03.2016

Bundeskartellamt initiates proceeding against Facebook on suspicion of having abused its market power by infringing data protection rules.


The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Facebook Inc., USA, the Irish subsidiary of the company and Facebook Germany GmbH, Hamburg. The authority is investigating suspicions that with its specific terms of service on the use of user data, Facebook has abused its possibly dominant position in the market for social networks.

There is an initial suspicion that Facebook's conditions of use are in violation of data protection provisions. Not every law infringement on the part of a dominant company is also relevant under competition law. However, in the case in question Facebook’s use of unlawful terms and conditions could represent an abusive imposition of unfair conditions on users. The Bundeskartellamt will examine, among other issues, to what extent a connection exists between the possibly dominant position of the company and the use of such clauses.

The Bundeskartellamt is conducting the proceeding in close contact with the competent data protection officers, consumer protection associations as well as the European Commission and the competition authorities of the other EU Member States.

For more information please see the press release.