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Germans do not like the Like Button

by Tug Agency | 01.09.2011
An independent privacy and data protection authority in Germany has recommended web users and webmasters earlier last week to keep away from Facebook’s Like Button. Thilo Weichert, head of the organisation ULD and also official data protection commissioner for the region Schleswig-Holstein has claimed that Facebook’s data protection practice for the Like Button was not compliant with German and European privacy law and has urged webmasters to remove the like button. He went as far as threatening fines of up to 50,000 € for webmasters in the Schleswig-Holstein area who did not do so until end of September 2011. Weichert claimed that users did not have enough insight and control over who could access their data when liking pages, posts, comments etc.

His threat has made headlines all around Germany and has confused webmasters, especially in Schleswig-Holstein. He has also earned criticism from lawyers for calling people on to boycott Facebook without being able to fully sustain his argument neither from a legal nor from a technical point of view. An article in yesterday’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper even claims that Weichert’s call to boycott was against German market law which would put Facebook into the position to take legal steps against Weichert.

Facebook in the mean time has defended its privacy policy as being fully compliant with the law but has not taken any further steps.

The discussion is likely to continue since privacy protection is always a major point of concern for many Germans.

Test your German and read more about the topic on FAZ.