One of the primary differences between Facebook and Twitter is that Facebook requires you to use your real name. If you want to create a brand on Facebook, you are required to create a Facebook Page. Last year, Facebook was ordered to end their real name policy and permit the use of pseudonyms in Germany by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) for Schleswig-Holstein. Supposedly the social network company was violating the German Telemedia Act, which allows users to have nicknames online. Well, regulators in Germany have decided earlier this week that Facebook can stick to their real name policy for now.
The Administrative Court of the State of Schleswig-Holstein ruled in favor of Facebook on Thursday. The ULD based their orders on German law which is not applicable in this case stated court spokesman Harald Alberts. Since Facebook’s main European office is in Ireland, that office is responsible for handling personal data and is subject to Irish data protection laws. The orders to stop the real name policy as well as the threat of a $27,000 U.S. fine does not comply are both unlawful said the court.
Thilo Weichert, privacy commissioner and head of the ULD said that the court is contradicting itself when they saw Facebook Germany is legally irrelevant because no personal data is processed there. He added that Facebook Ireland does not process any personal data either because the data is handled by Facebook in the U.S. He does not understand why the Irish jurisdiction is assumed.
The ULD can appeal the court’s decision within 2 weeks within the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of the Schleswig-Holstein. The ULD is expecting this litigation to take months or even years to finalize.