An arm of the German government has ruled that Facebook may not change users’ screen names to their real names. They may no longer demand identification of the users. This is in direct opposition to recent moves by the company to rid itself of non-real or non-confirmed identities. The company used to identify certain last names as fakes and force the users to identify themselves. This is now illegal in Germany.
Such a move could set a precedent by which users in other countries could create similar lawsuits. Simply defy Facebook’s directives that are in violation of the rules, and then sue them, and point to the ruling. A chain reaction may not be hard to imagine, but it is also not necessarily imminent.
But, Facebook HQ is in Ireland
Facebook continues to maintain that its headquarters are in Ireland and that it should only have to abide by Irish law. Increasingly its monitoring and tracking of user activities could place it at odds with European civil rights and freedom advocates.
The German government has an issue with the website not allowing users to sign up with false credentials. It is a violation of privacy, they feel, for Facebook to demand real, identifiable people. The question will be whether Facebook will react by rescinding its policy in places where it will not be tolerated, or will other social networks rise and replace Facebook?
Image from rvlsoft / Shutterstock.