All German authorities and government agencies have to leave Facebook by the end of the year as a data protection-compliant operation of a fan page is not possible on the American online platform, orders the Federal Data Protection Commissioner (Golem).

In a letter to government departments and agencies earlier this month, commissioner Ulrich Kelber said Facebook had provided no way to run pages for institutions, whose feed users can subscribe to by clicking "like", in an EU-compliant way.

Kelber said it was impossible to run a fan page in such a way that followers' personal data was not transmitted to the United States. Under EU law, personal data can only leave the EU for a jurisdiction with equivalently strict data protection rules, something that is not the case for the United States.

"Given the continuing violation of personal data protection, there is no time to waste," Kelber wrote to the government organisations. "If you have a fan page, I strongly recommend you switch it off by the end of the year."

Besides Facebook, Kelber would also begin auditing other social media apps such as Facebook-owned Instagram,  TikTok, and Clubhouse. Pointing to data privacy concern, Kelber has advised authorities to remove accounts from these sites as well.

This move from Data Protection Commissioner comes as pressure from European regulators on Big Tech intensifies. Last week, Germany’s antitrust watchdog launched an investigation into Apple, after similar probes into Facebook, Google and Amazon.

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