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Facebook is pushing back against a German ruling that could make it harder for the company to combine data from all the services it runs in order to target ads even more precisely.

Thursday’s ruling, though aimed at current practices, hints at potential troubles ahead if Facebook follows through with plans to integrate the messaging functions of WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger as early as next year.

German antitrust authorities ruled Thursday that Facebook was exploiting its dominance in social media to force users to share data from other Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as third-party websites through the “Like” and “Share” buttons.

The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, isn’t contesting Facebook’s use of customer data to target ads on the main Facebook service. Rather, the ruling said Facebook should have to get permission separately before using customer data from other apps and websites to do so. Facebook said it would appeal.


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