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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Germany's top court ruled Tuesday that Facebook abused its market power by illegally harvesting user data in the country, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The case against Facebook, pushed forward by Germany's competition regulator last year, represents one of the first major antitrust actions against Facebook.

What's next: The court has mandated that people should be able to prevent their Facebook data from being associated with WhatsApp and Instagram accounts, outside websites and third-party apps without their consent, as Germany's antitrust watchdog argued last year.

  • Facebook says it has 14 months to work with Germany's antitrust watchdog to hammer out technical details for the court's mandate, as the company's appeal of the competition regulator continues.
  • Meanwhile, the campaign to get advertisers to halt spending on Facebook continues to gain steam. The New York Times reports that Eddie Bauer, Ben & Jerry’s and Magnolia Pictures are all suspending ads on the platform.

Yes, but: Tuesday's decision "may not be the last word," the Times' Adam Satariano writes, since Germany's lower court could possibly rule in Facebook’s favor.

What they're saying: “Today’s decision relates to the preliminary proceedings on the Court’s stay order," Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday. "The main proceedings, before the Court of Appeals, are ongoing and we will continue to defend our position that there is no antitrust abuse. There will be no immediate changes for people or businesses who use our products and services in Germany."

Go deeper: Germany tells Facebook to curb data gathering

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add information from Facebook on the next steps the company faces to address the ruling.

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2020 - Technology

Congress looks to squeeze Big Tech ahead of election

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are bracing for a tough day in three separate Capitol Hill committees Thursday, as lawmakers move to show they're tough on social media platforms in the days leading up to the election.

Why it matters: Big Tech has become a go-to punching bag for both the right and left, and tech policy has become increasingly fertile ground for grievance politics.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman will not run for re-election, citing "partisan gridlock"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2022, citing "partisan gridlock."

Why it matters: It's a surprise retirement from a prominent Senate Republican who easily won re-election in 2016 and was expected to do so again in 2022, creating an open Senate seat in a red-leaning swing state.