" />
Social Media

On Facebook, you have no right to use a fake name, a German court finds

On Facebook, you have no right to use a fake name, a German court finds

Facebook users have no rights to use an alias or pseudonym on the social networking site, according to a court ruling in Germany this week.

The ruling came after a German Data Protection Office, The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection in Schleswig-Holstein (UDL) ordered Facebook in December to remove its requirement for people to use their real names on the site. The data protection agency told Facebook that the requirement “must be immediately abandoned.”

Facebook appealed the decision, saying that by allowing people to only use the site under their real names the company was ensuring that all users of the site knew who they were connecting to.  Facebook insisted that the requirement was a core part of the company’s security and protection measures.

The UDL argued that by not allowing people to create pen names the site was stifling fair criticism and free speech.  It also argued that the real name requirement neither prevented abuse from taking place on the site nor protected users from identity theft.

The UDL said in court that under German law people have the right to be anonymous online and this law should apply to “U.S. portals” such as Facebook.  Facebook successfully argued that since the company is based in the U.S and that data is processed in Ireland, where Facebook’s EMEA Headquarters are based, it was not subject to the German requirement.

No similar law of anonymity exists in Ireland.

With this the case Facebook’s naming policy can remain.  However, the UDL’s Dr. Thilo Weichert has already begun an appeal.

Thanks to Sebastian Lasse for his help on this report.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Media

Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

More in Social Media

zuckerberg president

Zuckerberg is running for president, even if he never runs: KU interview analysis

Ben AllenNovember 13, 2017
Big Brother looming over Chinese citizens

How China’s social rating system can affect you

Daniel SanchezNovember 9, 2017
social media unconscious

How social media affects our collective unconscious

Tim HinchliffeNovember 1, 2017
facebook change news feed

Is Facebook planning to change the News Feed as we know it?

Markus SkagbrantOctober 24, 2017
social media immigrants

US can now collect social media data on immigrants, citizens, and travelers

Tim HinchliffeOctober 23, 2017
social media anti-terrorism

Murky methods: social media’s initial anti-terrorism efforts

Ben AllenOctober 20, 2017
instagram post trending

Instagram hashtags: how to get your post trending

Kavinesh ArumugamOctober 18, 2017
HashtagWithMyBae HashtagBestSmoothieEver

Why ratings and reviews are for products, not people

Daniel SanchezOctober 17, 2017
instagram stories polling

How businesses can leverage Instagram Stories’ polling feature

Kavinesh ArumugamOctober 10, 2017