German competition watchdog to announce Facebook findings by year-end

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FLORENCE (Reuters) – The initial findings of Germany’s investigation of U.S. social network company Facebook over possible market abuse will be announced by the end of the year, the country’s cartel office said on Friday.

The competition watchdog’s investigation, which kicked off in March last year, was triggered by concerns that users were not properly informed about how Facebook used personal data and that this could violate Germany’s data protection laws.

Facebook, which generates revenues from advertising based on data from its users’ social connections, opinions and activities, has said it complies with the law.

“I think we will present first results of this case before the end of this year,” Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt told a conference organized by the International Bar Association.

Companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their annual turnover by the German competition regulator if found guilty of abusing a dominant market position, though it has never imposed the maximum penalty.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Goodman

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