Germany's chief market regulator has threatened curbs on how Facebook gathers data from users, accusing the US tech giant of abusing its dominant position as the world's leading social network website.
Andreas Mundt, head of Germany's main anti-trust agency the Federal Cartel Office (FCO), told the Financial Times in an interview that one possible outcome of an investigation last year could see Facebook banned from collecting and processing third-party user data in Germany.
The investigation by the FCO last year concluded in December that Facebook was "abusing" its dominant position by "making use of its social network conditional on its being allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user's Facebook account".
It added: "These third-party sites include firstly services owned by Facebook such as WhatsApp or Instagram, and secondly websites and apps of other operators with embedded Facebook APIs."
Mundt (left) told the FT: "We are blazing a trail in this case.
“We are looking very closely at the connection between data and market dominance, data and market power, and the possible abuse of data collection.”
The German response reflects a rising chorus of regulatory rhetoric directed against big US tech groups and their dominance of social networks and ecommerce.