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The German Federal Cartel Office has its eye on Meta VR headsets

With a statement made today, the German Federal Cartel Office announced that it wants to closely examine the options offered by Meta to users.

In July, we shared with you that the “Log in with Facebook” option was replaced by “Meta accounts” . Let us remind you that “Meta accounts”, which replace the Meta application family for Metaverse, were opened to all users in August . 


In fact, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has a great influence on this decision of Meta. Because, the institution has been in a monopoly-themed struggle with Meta for a long time. In fact, Meta’s decision to add a new input method to its VR headsets comes just months after the FCO launched a new lawsuit against Meta. 

With an update to German laws in 2021, Meta was the subject of a special competition abuse control system as part of the lawsuit. This change in the law also indicates that Meta will be scrutinized for monopoly by the FCO in the next 5 years. 

However, before this litigation process, it should be noted that the FCO had allegations about Meta’s approach to profiling users. The FCO even calls this approach “super-profiling.” Allegedly, Meta aggregates users’ usage data by collecting them across different services. It does this by ensuring that the user uses the same ID in each service. 

This approach stands out as a business model based on anti-privacy surveillance, according to competition lawmakers in Germany. The lawmakers in question have been trying to  prevent this business model, which has been described as open to abuse, since 2019 .

Although the “Sign in with Facebook” option has left its place to “Meta accounts”, FCO announced today that it wants to closely examine the options Meta offers to users . In this context, it will be examined what kind of selection architecture the company has implemented and whether dark patterns are included in the application experience. In addition, it will be observed how Meta combines user data within the framework of different services. 


The FCO’s statement today states that the extent to which such data processing is permitted, including the outcome of pending legal proceedings before the European Court of Justice, is a lively discussion between Meta and itself.

The FCO has clarified that until this is clarified, Meta will, with certain exceptions, keep data of users with separate Meta accounts created when using Meta Quest titles separate from data collected from other Meta services. 

It should be noted at this point that Meta has objected to the FCO’s order suspending the appeal process regarding super-profiling. The decision of the European Union’s top court is currently awaited on the subject. It is stated that it may take 1 year for the decision to become clear. 


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