Facebook loses Germany court battle over privacy settings

Facebook loses Germany court battle over privacy settings

According to the VZBV, the court found that Facebook's real name policy was "a covert way" of obtaining users' consent to share their names, which are one of many pieces of information the court said Facebook did not properly obtain users' permission for.

The court decided in favour of a German consumer rights group following its legal challenge against the United States social media giant, finding that Facebook collects data on its users, and signs them up to services, without giving enough information for them to give meaningful consent.

However, Vzbv plans to appeal the decision as the court reject the group's claim that a number of Facebook's settings, which are the default for all users, deliberately misled its customers in describing the service as "free", as Vzbv maintains users are effectively forced to pay using their information. "This does not meet the requirement for informed consent". Another clause required users to pledge to use only their real name and data on Facebook, which implicitly granted Facebook consent to process their data, said the VZBV.

Facebook's repeatedly found itself in the dock over privacy disputes in Germany, and Europe.

Sandberg said that the creation of this "privacy center" was prompted by the requirements of the GDPR: a regulation that requires any company that does business in the European Union to take specific steps to more securely collect, store and use personal information.

The verdict was handed down in mid-January but consumer rights group publically announced the details of the case on Monday that German court has ruled Facebook's privacy settings illegal.

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With regards to default settings, the court was not happy with how some of them were presented without a user having a clear choice.

Facebook has also come under fire for a smartphone app that comes pre-activated and reveals the user's location to the person they're communicating with.

Also, in the privacy settings, ticks were already placed in boxes that allowed search engines to link to the user's timeline, meaning that anyone would be able quickly and easily to find a user's profile.

"We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law", the company said in a statement.

The social media giant was already under scrutiny from Germany's competition authorities for its handling of users' personal data.

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