Germany probes Facebook

Berlin – Germany’s antitrust regulator opened a probe into whether Facebook abused its power in the social network market by forcing customers to agree to terms allowing the use of their data.

The Federal Cartel Office is examining whether the terms breach data protection laws and whether imposing them is an antitrust violation, the authority said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

For advertising-financed Internet services such as Facebook, information about users is hugely important, Office President Andreas Mundt said.

“Not every infringement on the part of a dominant company is also relevant under competition law,” the regulator said. “However, Facebook’s use of unlawful terms and conditions could represent an abusive imposition of unfair conditions on users.”

Facebook is “confident that we comply with the law and we look forward to working with the Federal Cartel Office to answer their questions,” according to an e-mailed statement.