Thursday, 3 March 2016
Facebook privacy concerns and anti-competitive behavior
Germany has just accused Facebook of abusing its market dominance by somehow 'forcing' consumers to accept its data usage terms. The FT reports that the German competition watchdog is launching an investigation into the matter. I can definitely see a case for privacy concerns in the context of Facebook (and other websites that use consumer data for selling advertising) but connecting this issue to anti-competitive behavior and market dominance is a stretch. Is the argument that "because of its market dominance, consumers don't have a choice but to share their private data with Facebook"? This is not really the case. Rather the issue is that it is hard for consumers to figure out the correct privacy settings. Unfortunately, the authorities don't seem to be very clear about their reasoning.