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Parliamentary questions
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27 March 2019
Answer given by Ms Vestager on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000001/2019

The Commission is aware of the study by Privacy International and of the complaints filed with data protection authorities in the EU about Facebook’s practices. Commissioner Jourova has reminded Facebook representatives on several occasions to fully cooperate with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which acts in cases involving Facebook as the lead supervisory authority for the application of the General Data Protection Regulation(1).

Like other important inputs, data accumulation in the hands of a single firm may raise competition concerns. At the same time, when firms collect personal data, a degradation of data protection may result in harm to competition that can be addressed by EU competition law. Data accumulation and data protection have already been taken into account in EU competition cases, such as the recent Apple/Shazam and Microsoft/LinkedIn merger cases. The Commission will continue investigating any such data-related concerns in future merger and antitrust cases.

The fine is subject to a legally binding methodology and is proportionate to the sales affected by the infringement. Besides, the deterrent effect of EU competition enforcement is based on multiple factors, namely fines, but also remedies, and actions for damages.

Finally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the Commission can only revoke a decision under strict conditions, including when the decision is based on incorrect information for which one of the undertakings is responsible or where it has been obtained by deceit. Should such a case arise, the Commission will assess it.

(1)Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1‐88.

Last updated: 3 April 2019Legal notice