Facebook real name policy upheld in Germany

Facebook real name policy upheld in Germany
Zuckerberg must have a four-leaf clover, of which the Winklevi claim ownership.

You can't parade around as a fake Bastian Schweinsteiger on Facebook anymore, as the site's right to terminate accounts that use pseudonyms has been upheld in German courts.

This latest update in the back-and-forth battle over the social network's controversial real name policy reaffirms two earlier decisions by lower courts.

Facebook can really "like" the decision by the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of Schleswig-Holstein this time around.

It will be the final ruling, according to Susanne Rublack, a spokesperson for the appellate court who talked to PC World.

The reason behind the decision

At the heart of the case was whether or not German citizens had the right to online pseudonyms.

This right is enshrined in German law, said to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ULD) for Schleswig-Holstein back in December.

However, the data protection body's case ran into trouble when Facebook challenged the decree on the grounds that its European headquarters is in Ireland.

The court found that none of the social network's data processing actually takes place in Germany, where Facebook houses only an ad sales and marketing team.

With the the luck of the Irish, Mark Zuckerberg's company escapes with a win in this third, and most likely final, challenge to Facebook's real name policy.

Matt Swider