A German privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop enforcing its real name policy because it violates a German law that gives users the right to use nicknames online.
Facebook refused to permit the use of pseudonyms on its platform as required by the German Telemedia Act, Thilo Weichert, privacy commissioner and head of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) Schleswig-Holstein said on Monday. The ULD issued a decree forcing Facebook to start allowing pseudonyms immediately, he said.
"This decree is binding," said Weichert, who added that it is unacceptable that a U.S. portal like Facebook keeps violating German data protection law. To ensure users' rights and comply with data protection law in general, the real name obligation must be immediately abandoned by Facebook, the ULD said.
The orders were issued on Friday against Facebook USA and Facebook Ireland, which is responsible for all Facebook's activities outside of the U.S. and Canada.