Bonn — On Thursday, Germany’s anti-trust watchdog announced a crackdown on Facebook’s data-collection practices after ruling that the world’s largest social network abuses its market dominance to gather information about users without their knowledge or consent. Facebook said it will appeal the landmark ruling by the Federal Cartel Office, the culmination of a three-year probe, saying the watchdog underestimates the competition it faces and undermines Europe-wide privacy rules (GDPR) that took effect last year. “In future, Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook accounts,” Cartel office chief Andreas Mundt said. The probe’s findings come amid fierce scrutiny of Facebook over a series of privacy lapses, including the leak of data on tens of millions of Facebook users, as well as the extensive use of targeted ads by foreign powers seeking to influence elections in the...

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