Abrupt End to 'Hipster Antitrust'? Tackling Facebook’s Expansion Following the First Court Ruling in Germany

Hausfeld Competition Bulletin, Fall 2019

9 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2019

See all articles by Thomas Hoppner

Thomas Hoppner

Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau; Hausfeld RA LLP

Philipp Westerhoff

Hausfeld RA LLP

Date Written: November 20, 2019


On 6 February 2019, the German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office – “FCO”) found that Facebook abused its dominance by improperly combining user data that it collected from various sources. As a remedy, the FCO imposed far-reaching restrictions on Facebook’s processing of user data, including a duty to obtain “voluntary consent” from consumers prior to any combination of data. Some celebrated the decision as an innovative approach to protect consumers by means of antitrust law beyond its classical focus on consumer welfare. This rendered the decision as a symbol for what has been dubbed “Hipster Antitrust”. The investigation even won the FCO the prestigious GCR award for global “Enforcement action of the year 2018”. Others, including the authors of this article, criticized that the decision might have over-stretched the limits of antitrust law.

Keywords: Facebook, Antitrust, Competition Law, Abuse of Dominance, Art. 102 TFEU, Data Protection, Appeal, Hipster Antitrust, Regulation, FCO, Bundeskartellamt

Suggested Citation

Höppner, Thomas and Westerhoff, Philipp, Abrupt End to 'Hipster Antitrust'? Tackling Facebook’s Expansion Following the First Court Ruling in Germany (November 20, 2019). Hausfeld Competition Bulletin, Fall 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3491648 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3491648

Thomas Höppner

Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau ( email )

Hochschulring 1
Wildau, 15745

Hausfeld RA LLP ( email )

Walter-Benjamin Platz 6
Berlin, 10629

Philipp Westerhoff (Contact Author)

Hausfeld RA LLP ( email )

Kurfürstendamm 218
Berlin, 10719

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