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EU Court Rules Facebook Must Store Data In ‘Virtual Data Room’

The European Union’s (EU) second-highest court ruled that Facebook can’t be forced to turn over sensitive information without a review. Instead of handing everything over, the ruling stated that Facebook should instead cooperate with antitrust regulators by identifying the information and storing it in a “virtual data room,” a Bloomberg report said on Thursday (Oct. 29).

The ruling follows Facebook’s complaint in July that EU regulators were making excessive demands for sensitive data, beyond what was necessary.

“The members of the team responsible for the investigation shall examine and select the documents in question” while giving Facebook lawyers “the opportunity to comment on them before the documents considered relevant are placed on the file,” Marc van der Woude said in the court order, per Bloomberg.

Facebook said in a statement to Bloomberg that it was looking forward to the court’s assessment “that highly personal and irrelevant information enjoy strong legal protections, which need to be respected in the commission’s ongoing investigation.

“In the meantime, we continue to cooperate with the commission and have already provided it with over a million documents,” the company continued.

Amid the scrutiny on Big Tech, EU Digital Chief Margrethe Vestager said on Wednesday (Oct. 28) that she is in favor of implementing new regulations, but doesn’t see the benefit of breaking up the individual conglomerates.

The five commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are debating the merits of a possible antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. A decision should be announced in several weeks.

The FTC’s meeting follows an antitrust filing against Google by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The suit says that Google uses anti-competitive measures to protect its search monopoly.

Jim McCarthy, president of i2C, said in a PYMNTS podcast that the whole world seems to be ganging up on Big Tech over antitrust laws, but political issues are crowding out consumers’ best interests.

Analysts are expecting Facebook’s third-quarter earnings report to show a decline of about 10 percent from 2019, with revenue increasing 12 percent to $19.81 billion.

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