German antitrust authorities have told Facebook that it must stop forcing users to share data from other Facebook-owned services like Instagram & Whatsapp. The order not only applies to data that is collected by Facebook-owned platforms, but also third-party sources that Facebook uses to flesh out its advertising profiles. The Federal Cartel Office has given Facebook one month to appeal the landmark decision. If due to any reason the appeal fails, the tech company will have to ensure these data sources are not combined without consent within the next four months. But such ruling only applies within Germany but it may influence regulators in other countries too.
In the present mobile app development world, there’s tough competition from other messaging services. But users are likely to stay within Facebook’s properties to message their friends across different services, rather than having to switch to any different platform. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company has not given any details on its plans to integrate messaging. The company also stated that the main idea is to help users without worrying about who’s on which service. But critics have raised the threats of antitrust crackdowns.
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If Facebook combines its messaging services then it will be much more difficult to separate out and spin-off Instagram and WhatsApp as separate companies. Users like to stay within Facebook’s properties to message their friends across different services rather than switching between WhatsApp and Instagram. There are various users who are not aware that Facebook is able to collect an unlimited amount of user data from third-party sources. Well, Facebook has told German authorities it had been cooperating with the Cartel Office since 2016 and would defend important arguments in court. Facebook never ask users to add their phone number, but WhatsApp is generally used with phone numbers. No matter what German antitrust authorities have told Facebook the most astonishing thing is that all rules will be applicable in Germany only.
Various companies can target Facebook and Instagram users together with the same ad campaign. Privacy attorney Scott Vernick also said in a press conference that he expects the integration plans to draw regulatory scrutiny, especially in Europe. This is because of Facebook’s promises that it would keep the companies separate when it bought Instagram & WhatsApp. But after some time, WhatsApp’s founders quit the company over disagreements about user privacy. Despite of such things, Facebook is continuously ramping up its efforts to tie users from its different platforms. Recently Facebook is planning to rebuild the infrastructure of Instagram, Facebook Messanger, Whatsapp so that all services can run on a single platform without any hassle.