The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s competition watchdog, has ordered Facebook to stop combining data it is collecting through other services, without prior user consent. Facebook is collecting information both on its service, as well as through other services it owns, like WhatsApp and Instagram. “Where consent is not given, the data must remain with the respective service and cannot be processed in combination with Facebook data”, said the Bundeskartellamt.
Additionally, the same principles apply for data collected from third party websites. Facebook will only be able to combine and assign said data to a Facebook account if it has the user’s consent.
If a consent has not been given, Facebook, according to the watchdog, will have to “substantially restrict” collecting, assigning, and combining information. Facebook has been given one month to appeal this decision, which has been given after a three year investigation. If Facebook appeals and loses, the social giant will have four months to put everything in place to make sure data is not combined without consent.
Facebook is planning on unifying its platforms under a single umbrella that would bring together Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, but not before 2020.