Facebook ordered to change real name policy in Germany

Would you like the choice?

Facebook shouldn't be allowed to make people in Germany use their real names on the social network, a data protection body has ordered.

According to the body, the right to use pseudonyms online is enshrined in German law.

The body has issued a decree demanding that Facebook let people sign up using any name they like. Facebook has replied, saying the decree is "without merit" and that it will fight it "vigorously". It added that its naming policy met European data protection rules.

According to the head of the data protection body, Facebook violating German laws is "unacceptable". He said it was "reasonable" to use a false name on Facebook, and that people should be free to use the social network "without fear of unpleasant consequences."

Facebook has two weeks to oppose the decree in German court.


Facebook is also coming under fire because of changes to Instagram's terms of service. (Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion.) According to the new terms of service, Instagram will have the right to use your photos for what it sees fit, including selling them to companies to use in advertising.

The changes will come into effect on January 16.