Facebook is caught in the middle of conflicting rulings by courts in Germany, as a decision by the Higher Court of Berlin that the social network’s friend finder violates the country’s law clashes with an April 2013 ruling by the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, which stated that Germany’s data-protection laws should not apply to Facebook, as its European headquarters are in Ireland.
A November 2011 order by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) for the state of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany that ordered companies to deactivate their Facebook pages was overturned Wednesday by the Administrative Court of Schleswig-Holstein, IDG News Service reported.
Facebook has been battling users who either don’t exist in real life or are using a pseudonym, but the company has met resistance in Germany. However, a judge ruled Wednesday in an appeal case that German privacy laws (which would allow users to have whatever name they want on the social network) do not apply to Facebook, as the company’s European base is in Ireland, where regulations are more lax.
The Facebook Public Policy Office in Berlin has likely been in overdrive due to the social network’s ongoing conflict with the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein over whether Facebook users should be allowed to use pseudonyms, but staffers in Berlin welcomed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Tuesday, and Kerry signed the office’s wall.
Facebook’s good fortune in courtrooms extended overseas, as the administrative court for the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein sided with the social network and suspended the enforcement of an order that it allow users to register under pseudonyms.
The data-protection commissioner for the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, took his campaign against Facebook’s insistence that users provide their real names up a notch, threatening to fine the social network £16,000 ($20,877) if it refuses to abolish that policy.
Facebook and Germany are at odds again, this time over whether the social network’s insistence that users provide their real names conflicts with the country’s data-protection law that permits the use of pseudonyms.