Germany's cartel office is investigating Facebook for suspected abuse of market power over breaches of data protection laws. Germany’s Federal Cartel said it’s examining whether Facebook abused its possible market dominance by forcing customers to agree to terms allowing the use of their data. The authority said it’s in close contact with regulators including the European Commission and competition authorities of the other European Union nations over the issue.
"Facebook’s use of unlawful terms and conditions could represent an abusive imposition of unfair conditions on users," the German agency said. For advertising-financed Internet services such as Facebook, information about users is hugely important, said Andreas Mundt, the regulator’s president.
The German probe adds to a list of antitrust threats to U.S. Internet giants in the EU -- from Googleto Amazon.com.
Facebook earns revenues from advertising based on data it gathers about its users' social connections, opinions and activities in their postings.
Facebook said that it is complying with the law and that it plans to work with the Federal Cartel Office.
Facebook executive jailed in Brazil
In related news, a senior Facebook executive arrested in Brazil is likely to be released following a dispute over a court order demanding data from the company's WhatsApp messaging service in a drug-trafficking investigation.
A press representative for the court in Sergipe state that is handling the case said Diego Dzodan, who is Facebook vice president for Latin America, would likely be released in Sao Paulo on Wednesday morning after a judge overturned a lower court decision.