Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been threatened with legal action in Germany after a consumer group said the social network’s App Center violated the country’s law by gathering users’ personal information without consent. VZBV said the newly launched platform for accessing games, surveys, and quizzes “simply assume[s]” user agreement and is in violation of Germany’s Telemedia Act.
The group said that when adding an app from the Facebook App Center, users may press buttons that ask them to “play game” or “send to phone” without fully realizing that they’ve agreed to share personal data. Even though there is a grayed-out text box that specifies what information the app is likely to access, it’s not a clear enough description, the group said. “The practice of the company…to assume [consent] simply must come to an end,” VZBV said.
The group has given Facebook a September 4 deadline to change the settings so that users of the App Center are given details on how and with whom their personal data is being shared, according to Reuters.
Earlier this year, VZBV had managed to get a German court to rule against Facebook’s Friend Finder tool, which allows users to find contacts from their email address book on the social network.
Facebook had also come under further fire in Germany after data protection officials asked that the website disable its facial recognition software used in photo tagging and delete previously stored data. The officials said that offering an opt-out from the feature wasn’t a suitable solution because photo information stored by Facebook remained intact even when a user opted out. The investigation, which had been closed in June, was reopened earlier this month by Hamburg data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar. Facebook has said in its defense that the facial-recognition technology was fully compliant with EU data protection laws.