Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


Germany Declares Using Facebook Like Button Illegal in Privacy Battle

| Share

by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Someone really doesn’t like like Facebook. Germany’s declared that famous blue button illegal. Schleswig-Holstein's data protection commissioner Thilo Weichert has officially ordered state institutions to shut down fan pages on Facebook -- and is forcing removal of the popular "Like” option from websites.
The Germany agency says the "Like” button leads to profiling that’s in direct violation of German and European law. Facebook itself isn’t liking that decision. The social networking site is arguing it’s in full compliance with data protection legislature of Europe, while the commission says the button’s got to go.
The German commissioner claims his office can prove Facebook’s transgressions or violating of German and European data protection laws, that the site’s guilty of passing content data to the company’s United States servers. The statement from Weichert: "Whoever visits or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the [] company for two years," Weichert said. "Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalized profile."
Facebook admits the website can see "information such as the IP address" of users who visit another website containing the "Like" button feature – but claims the info is deleted within 90 days. Germany’s stuck on a number of two years, and the insinuation Facebook is keeping better tabs on info for about eight times longer than that duration.
Those owning websites in Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein state have been given an immediate cease-fire, ordered to: "immediately stop the passing on of user data to Facebook in the USA by deactivating the respective services." For websites that choose not to comply with the forcing out of Facebook, the commission’s threatening legal action.
The German commissioner’s also spreading the word about Facebook – and it’s not a kind one: He’s telling internet users to "keep their fingers from clicking on social plug-ins" and "not set up a Facebook account" because he believes the social networker is profiling its users.
Germany’s actually one of the only countries that’s proven successful in battling titans like Facebook and Google over privacy issues: Germans rank among the world’s only citizens allowed some privacy with Google and its Street Views Maps service – the country's residents winning the right and option to blur images of German homes and residences, omitting themselves from the public view endured by the rest of the world. While Germans can make themselves exempt from appearing in at least one part of Google, that doesn't include the guy that either forgot or just didn't bother: A naked German man in a car trunk was photographed by Google's Street View and didn't bother with an overall blur. Google blurred the important part. No word on why the guy was in the vehicle's trunk to begin with. Naked. But he didn't seem too concerned about his personal privacy.
As for privacy with Facebook and the German government's ongoing battle to preserve legal rights: At the start of 2011, Facebook finally gave just its German users a bit of control over e-mail address books -- but that was only after a dispute between the company and government over Facebook's "Friend Finder.”
The German reaction to Facebook could additionally be fueled by a recent situation that's put at least one high-profile citizen, or the government, in a position for public ridicule: The country may just be embarrassed by the fact that Christian von Boetticher -- a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party of Schleswig-Holstein -- decided to resign, stepping down from his position after copping to an affair with a woman he met on Facebook. She was 16 years old. And there’s accusations the legislator was spending more time on Facebook than on his job. Or, at least, it seems von Boetticher was spending more time on the social networking site than with his wife.
As for a status update – the legislator has now deleted his Facebook profile.


| Share
Average: 5 (1 vote)