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Facebook has succeeded in blocking a pioneering order by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office earlier this year that would have banned it from combining data on users across its own suite of social platforms — Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — without their consent.
Pioneering because the antitrust regulator had liaised with EU privacy authorities during a long-running investigation of Facebook’s data-gathering activities — leading it to conclude that Facebook’s conduct in the German market where it also deemed it to hold a monopoly position amounted to “exploitative abuse.”
The Bundeskartellamt (FCO) order had been likened to a structural separation of Facebook’s businesses at the data level.
Facebook appealed, delaying application of the order, and today’s ruling by the Dusseldorf court grants a suspension (press release in German) — essentially kicking the matter into very long legal grass.
The FCO has a month to lodge an appeal. A spokeswoman confirmed to TechCrunch it will do so. But with the order suspended pending what could be years of appeals there’s little near-term prospect of any change to how Facebook does business based on this particular regulatory intervention.