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German authorities ordered Facebook to allow Germans use fake names

The German authorities ordered Facebook to allow Germans use fake names because according to them, they cannot force Germans to use their real names. Moreover, Facebook is also not allowed to ask German citizens to provide an official ID.

The orders by German authorities that let Facebook to allow Germans use fake names came after the Belgian authorities took Facebook to court in June over the way it spy on the activities of the users. Authorities of Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are now all working together to investigate the privacy policies of Facebook.

A woman had also complained to the Hamburg watchdog after the social media giant blocked her account for using a fake name. After blocking her account, Facebook changed her name to reflect her real identity, and asked a copy of her official ID to activate the account.

According to a report by the Hamburg Data Protection Authority, the woman didn’t want to use her real name so that she can avoid being contacted through it for business purposes.

The orders by German authorities that let Facebook to allow Germans use fake names was disappointing for the social media giant.

Facebook spokesperson said:

“The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.”

Facebook stated that as its headquarters in Europe are in Ireland it should abide by Irish law only and accordingly has rejected the jurisdiction of other authorities in Europe.

In an audit in December 2011, it was concluded by the Irish privacy watchdog that Facebook’s real name policy did not violate Irish law and its reasons for the real name policy, such as the prevention of online harassment and child safety were justified.

However, Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection was not satisfied and said “For that matter Facebook cannot again argue that only Irish Data Protection law would be applicable … anyone who stands on our pitch also has to play our game”. So for now Facebook to allow Germans use fake names.

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