Germany's cartel office is investigating the social network over data protection. It's the first time Facebook is probed for allegedly violating competition rules. Fred Katayama reports.
A faceoff first for Facebook: Germany's cartel office is investigating the social network for allegedly violating competition rules. The watchdog is probing whether Facebook abused its market dominance by inadequately informing users on the scope and nature of the personal data that would be gathered. A Facebook spokeswoman said, "We are confident that we comply with the law...." Facebook is by far the world's largest social network. It's almost double the size of its largest rival, Tencent. And it owns four of the top eight social network services such as Instagram and WhatsApp. Data privacy head Mark Watts of the British law firm, Bristows, called this an "unusual case," saying, "Although we've seen the volume of personal data a company has being a factor in obtaining merger clearances from competition authorities, this is the first time we've seen it being such a significant factor in an investigation into whether a company has abused its dominant position." Facebook faces another legal challenge overseas. A senior executive was arrested in Brazil where a court demands that the company fork over data to help in a drug-trafficking probe.