Meta criticizes ‘flawed’ German antitrust ruling

Facebook owner Meta Platforms said on Tuesday (May 10) that a German antitrust order limiting its data collection was “clearly flawed” and undermined European data protection regulations.

As Reuters reported, Meta’s criticisms came after Germany’s antitrust watchdog ordered the social media giant to stop collecting user data without consent, alleging the company had abused its market power.

The case is part of a broader trend among regulators around the world to take action to limit the power of Big Tech companies.

See also: Meta Challenges Orders to Kill $315M Deal to Acquire Giphy

For example, Meta said last month it was fighting allegations from the UK’s antitrust watchdog that the company was breaching anti-competition rules. Meta has accused the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of being “irrational” and “incoherent” when it ruled that Giphy, a GIF search engine, was a competitor in the display advertising market.

Meta’s attorneys are trying to overturn the AMC’s order to void the $315 million deal to acquire Giphy. Meta said that despite the AMC’s review of more than 280,000 documents from the merging parties, there is no evidence that they compete in the advertising market.

Reuters noted that the flaw in the German case stems from the fact that the country’s watchdog overstepped its authority by using its antitrust powers to attack data protection. Meta sued the watchdog in German court, arguing the order was “clearly flawed”.

Read more: Germany announces new restrictions on the power of Meta

Last week, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office said it planned to impose tougher regulations on Meta, saying the company was of “primary importance for competition between markets”.

This designation gives the regulator additional authority to limit the market power of Big Tech companies, and legislation approved in 2021 in Germany gives the Cartel Office the power to prohibit activities it deems anti-competitive. The bureau said last week that Meta operates a thriving, ad-supported social media ecosystem used by much of the German population.

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