German State Bans Agency Facebook Pages, 'Like' Button

Lora Bentley
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Six Facebook Privacy Blunders

Facebook routinely pushes privacy boundaries and riles privacy advocates.

Facebook is in trouble with foreign privacy regulators again. Officials in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, instructed agencies to do away with their Facebook pages and to remove Facebook plugins (e.g. the Facebook "like" button) from their websites. They say the social networking site and its plugins violate Germany's Telemedia Act and Federal Data Protection Act.


According to, the problem is that Facebook transmits German users' data to the U.S. and then Web analytics are sent to website owners. Moreover, Facebook's privacy policy "does not nearly meet the legal requirements relevant for compliance of legal notice, privacy consent and general terms of use," the German Data Protection Commissioner's Office said in a statement.


For its part, Facebook vehemently denies that its privacy practices don't measure up to EU requirements. In its own statement, the company said, in part:

The Facebook Like button is such a popular feature because people have complete control over how their information is shared through it. For more than a year, the plugin has brought value to many businesses and individuals every day. We will review the materials produced by the [privacy commissioner's office], both on our own behalf and on the behalf of web users throughout Germany.

If you'll recall, Facebook had problems in Germany last year when regulators in Hamburg threatened to fine the company for retaining user information without permission, and not too long ago, privacy regulators were questioning Facebook's use of facial recognition technology.

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