Data Exploiting As an Abuse of Dominance: The German Facebook Decision

Hausfeld Competition Bulletin 1/2019

6 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2019 Last revised: 2 Mar 2021

See all articles by Thomas Hoppner

Thomas Hoppner

Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau; Hausfeld RA LLP

Date Written: February 28, 2019


On February 6th, the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office - “FCO”) ruled that Facebook abused its dominance by improperly combining user data that it collected. The FCO imposed far-reaching restrictions on Facebook’s processing of user data in the future, including a requirement that Facebook must obtain “voluntary consent” from consumers before using such data . Some celebrate the decision as an innovative enforcement approach to protect consumers. Others wonder if the ruling over-stretches the limits of competition law. This article outlines the background to the FCO’s investigation, its key findings, and possible enforcement lessons to be learned from the decision, both in the EU and U.S.

Keywords: Facebook, Abuse of Dominance, Data, Multi-sided Markets

Suggested Citation

Höppner, Thomas, Data Exploiting As an Abuse of Dominance: The German Facebook Decision (February 28, 2019). Hausfeld Competition Bulletin 1/2019, Available at SSRN: or

Thomas Höppner (Contact Author)

Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau ( email )

Hochschulring 1
Wildau, 15745

Hausfeld RA LLP ( email )

Walter-Benjamin Platz 6
Berlin, 10629

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