Facebook may no longer link user data from Whatsapp, Instagram or other websites to user accounts, concludes the German antitrust agency, the Bundeskartellamt after an investigation of almost three years.
Can Facebook do anything with this data? Read more here: Privacy (be)leidt: How is your data protected?
Facebook not only collects data in the form of reactions and likes on its own platform but also collects data about users when they are not on Facebook. Via the ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons that you often see on other websites, the tech giant gathers all sort of information such as IP addresses, surfing behaviour and device data from visitors in order to be able to link this to a specific user, even when they are not logged in to the platform. In this way, Facebook can sell targeted ads, with the processed data they estimate what someone likes to do in their free time for example. This all happens without the user knowing about it or giving permission for it. The German watchdog wants to change this. Without permission, Facebook is no longer allowed to follow internet users on such a large scale.
What about this targeted advertising? Affection? Manipulation or just smart marketing
Facebook states in a statement that it does not agree with the decision of the German regulator and says it does not have a dominant position. Facebook claims to have to deal with ‘fierce’ competition from Youtube, Snapchat, Twitter and others. 40 per cent of the Germans do not use the platform.
Although this ruling does not directly relate to the privacy of Dutch users, the Dutch Personal Data Authority does follow this case. “It is a topical discussion that is taking place throughout the European Union. From above, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is on top of this. This is about a competition complaint and not about the privacy that has been violated. If that is the case, Facebook users can file a complaint”, says Martijn Pols of the Personal Data Authority.