Germany orders Facebook to stop collecting some personal data without consent

Regulators in Germany ruled that Facebook must cut the data it gathers about people who aren't using its app or website or get their consent. Facebook says it intends to appeal the ruling.

The watchdog has carried out a probe into the social network following concerns that members were unaware of the extent of the firm's activities. It covered data gathered from third-party sources as well as via Facebook's other apps, including Instagram.

The US firm has said it will appeal. Specifically, the FCO has ruled that:

• Facebook's various services can continue to collect data, but they cannot combine it with the user's main Facebook account unless the member gives their voluntary consent
• collecting data from third-party websites and assigning it to a Facebook user's account is likewise only allowed if that member has given the firm permission

Facebook hitches a ride into browser sessions through like buttons, sharing widgets, ads and other non-obvious page elements. Like certain Google services, it's essentially unavoidable without installing browsers plugins to control them.