Facebook Rejects German Demand To Let Users Pick Fake Names

Facebook Rejects German Demand To Let Users Pick Fake Names

Facebook rejects a German demand to allow users to register with fake names, standing behind a policy requiring users to include their real names even though a privacy watchdog complains this is in violation of German law.

The demand comes from a German privacy watchdog group that claims Facebook’s policy against fake names violates European rules designed to protect free speech online, The Associated Press reported.

Facebook decided to reject the demand of protection commissioner of Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state, Thilo Weichert. He had ordered Facebook to rescind its real name policy.

As Facebook rejects the German demand, it claims the policy is in effect to protect users.

“We believe the orders are without merit, a waste of German taxpayers’ money and we will fight it vigorously,” Facebook said in a statement.

While Facebook engages in the fight in Germany, it has been working to improve its security features for users, Reuters noted. In December the company rolled out another update to its privacy settings, an attempt to simplify them so users can tell who is able to view their photos, posts, and profile.

Weichert said Facebook has two weeks to comply with the order, and if it doesn’t his office plans to take action against Facebook.

“We have the right to prevent this data protection breach,” he said. “Theoretically we can order the website blocked, but that would be disproportionate,” he said.

The maximum fine Facebook can reach after it rejects the German demand is only $66,000 however — a small price for a multi-billion dollar company.