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Andreas Mundt, the president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, speaks during a press conference on Facebook. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/AFP/Getty Images

Germany's competition regulator moved Thursday to ban Facebook from collecting certain types of consumer data without users' consent within the country, saying its data gathering was an "abuse" of its market power.

Why it matters: The decision isn't final but nonetheless represents the first major antitrust action against the social giant. It shows how questions about Facebook's dominance are tied to concerns about its users' privacy.

Details: The regulator said that Facebook couldn't associate data from accounts on WhatsApp or Instagram, which it owns, with accounts on its main platform unless a user agrees to it.

  • Users also have to agree to have data collected on them from third-party websites, the regulator said.
  • "With regard to Facebook's future data processing policy, we are carrying out what can be seen as an internal divestiture of Facebook's data," said Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, in a statement.

The other side: Facebook said it will appeal the decision, arguing that the German regulator "underestimates the fierce competition we face in Germany, misinterprets our compliance with GDPR and undermines the mechanisms European law provides for ensuring consistent data protection standards across the EU."

Go deeper: What Facebook knows about you

Go deeper

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.