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German FRK calls for ARD and ZDF to leave Facebook

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German cable operator association FRK calls for public broadcasters ARD and ZDF to immediately withdraw from Facebook.

“ARD and ZDF have been financing the expansion of their reach on Facebook through the public licence fee for years. During this time, they have provided the company with millions of user data of their viewers while nobody knows how they exploited and who uses them in the end,” said FRK Chairman Heinz-Peter Labonte.

“It is not acceptable that Facebook is supported for any longer through the public licence fee and that viewers co-finance the misuse of their own data,” criticised Labonte. If even the Managing Director of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, did not know which data is collected for example by Cambridge Analytica, this would be an alarm signal for the licence fee payers.

ARD and ZDF have been using Facebook and other social platforms for years to bind viewers and expand their reach, said Labonte, adding that almost all articles and features on the public broadcasters’ online services carry links encouraging viewers to use Facebook.

Labonte is particularly surprised by the inconsistent behaviour of the public broadcasters: “On one hand, all ARD affiliate stations and ZDF report on the Facebook scandal almost around the clock, while on the other hand they continue tempting their viewers to use Facebook. Even the German Federal Cartel Office now assumes that Facebook is abusing its market power in relation to its customers through the way data from third parties is collected and used.”

ARD and ZDF should suspend supporting Facebook through their usage of the platform at least until the US company finally provides its users with complete transparency regarding the exploitation of their own data, Labonte concluded.



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