On 26 August 2019, a German appeal court suspended an order of the German competition authority (the “FCO”) which had found that Facebook’s data processing practices in Germany constituted an abuse of dominance in breach of German antitrust rules (the “decision”). Expressing serious doubts as to the legality of the FCO’s decision, the court clarified in an interim ruling that antitrust cases involving data privacy considerations are subject to traditional antitrust assessment. Indeed, whilst the court did not make any determination on the privacy aspects of the case, it held that a breach of data protection law can only be considered an abuse of dominance if it involves anticompetitive conduct causally linked to the firm’s dominant market position. What was the FCO’s decision about? The
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