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German data commissioner orders Facebook to drop its real name policy

Germany to Facbook: Drop real name policy or else!

Charles Gantt | Dec 18, 2012 at 10:13 am CST (1 min, 0 secs time to read)

The Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz (ULD), Germany's data commissioner, has ordered Facebook to remove its real name policy, accusing the company of violating German data protection laws which give users the right to use pseudonyms online.

German data commissioner orders Facebook to drop its real name policy |

Both Facebook's US and Irish offices are included in the regulators report, noting that it has "instructed the two companies by decree to [amend the policy] and ordered the immediate execution of orders," which Facebook has said it will fight "vigorously."

Facebook comes under fire from time to time for its insistence that users only create accounts with the real full names. Facebook has even went as far as setting up a system for other users to report those who violate the real name rule.

"The permission to use pseudonyms on Facebook is reasonable. The real name obligation does neither prevent abuse of the service for insults or provocations nor does it help prevent identity theft," says the ULD. "Against this other precautions are necessary. To ensure the data subjects' rights and data protection law in general, the real name obligation must be immediately abandoned by Facebook."

We want to know how you feel about Facebook's Real Name policy. Voice your opinion in the comments!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 11:30 am CDT

Charles Gantt

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Charles Gantt

A web developer by day, Charles comes to TweakTown after a short break from the Tech Journalism world. Formerly the Editor in Chief at TheBestCaseScenario, he now writes Maker and DIY content. Charles is a self proclaimed Maker of Things and is a major supporter of the Maker movement. In his free time, Charles likes to build just about anything, with past projects ranging from custom PC cooling control systems to 3D printers. Other expensive addictions include Photography, Astronomy and Home Automation.

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