Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button Declared Illegal In Germany

Citing violations to the countries strict privacy laws, the Independent Center for Privacy Protection (ULD) called for all Facebook ‘like’ plugins to be removed in the German state of Schlewsing-Holstein.  The ULD stated that the Facebook ‘like’ plugin infringes on the Telemedia Act and the Federal Data Protection Act as Facebook transfers data back to the US.  Also, according to Thilo Weichart, employee of the the data  protection in Schleswig-Holstein, the plugins illegally tracked users’ web habits.

In the press release, the ULD stated:

The ULD expects all website operators in Schleswig-Holstein, that they immediately cease the data cascading over her to-use Facebook in the U.S., by disabling the appropriate services. This is not done until the end of September 2011, the ULD will take further measures.

and that

The maximum height is fine for violations of the TMG at 50,000 €.

For more information see the ULD’s official statement on Facebook.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • http://realtimetricks.blogspot.com Irfan Siddiqui

    This is something ridiculous. How can they say “like” button is illegal. Really can’t understand man.

  • http://docsheldon.com DocSheldon

    I know the German government is somewhat anal, but this is ridiculous, even for them!

  • http://blog.magicbeanlab.com Mat Morrison

    News-grabbing attempt by “Independent Center for Privacy Protection” from Schleswig-Holstein (pop 2.8m) is not the same as “German Government declares Like button illegal.”

    Read the words first. Write comment later. Always a good rule.

    NB: Schleswig-Holstein, not Schlewsing-Holstein. Who’s subbing this stuff?

  • http://lyecdevf.blogspot.com/ lyecdevf

    I have heard/read many times about Germany cyber paranoia in the last couple of years. It has become basically illigal to run a tor exit nod in Germany. The StudiVZ “hacker” died in jail and the list could go on…but now finally I see a glimpse of light from there. Failbook of course does not deserve a dogs piss and this is a move in the right direction. I hope Germany will do much more in this direction and treat failbook like a rat in the sewer.

  • http://econtrolling.de Markus Vollmert

    @Mat: right! This is *not* the German government.

    If the Facebook button is implemented on a page, FB can track the views and visitors of that page. If you have a FB account, FB can combine that data and create a personal surf profile. Google has the same discussion in Germany for ages now.

  • http://NewEvolutionDesigns.com N.E.

    Sounds like something China would do.

  • http://indonesia-portal.de Dr.Muham.MarcSugiono

    Its not that easy. I´m from germany and I also don´t linke this typical german angst, but before making the statement, the ULD tried to talk to facebook representatives, but they didn´t even react, also because facebook doesnt have any representative in germany.

    THis could have been solved more easily and the main problem is (as I understood it), that data is not just transmitted, when people are registered in facebook or clicked the button, but every time they visit a site, where the button is on.

    With a bit more willingness from facebook this problem could have been solved more easily in a sane dialogue, but facebook seems to be to arrogant, to speak with such little authorities in some marginal country in europe.

    But to say it again: I also don´t like this behaviour. But you can blame facebook as much as ULD for this.

  • http://www.reavely.com reavels

    I wonder if FB put up a datacenter in Germany it would be OK’ed? Does anyone have the details on the rules?

  • http://www.edeninteractive.com searchengineman

    Does this mean we should form a facebook group to support people who “Don’t Like” Germany!

    “Please stop Liking Germany” ??
    I’m confused. :-)


  • matt

    Ze germans are not allowed to like things. It is inefficient. Zis is ze top of a slippery slope, it starts with liking things and the before you know it people are developing a sense of humour!!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-bell/8/7ba/96b Chris Bell

    In all seriousness, this is a big issue. In order to do business in a big economy like Germany,companies have to strike a balance between the need to collect marketing data and the concerns of customers over privacy. Also, governments get elected by their people to carry out certain promises – ultimately, these privacy concerns derive from German votes, else wise these people would never have been appointed or elected.

  • http://alameenhospital.com/ Moin Shaikh

    This action has both positive and negative sides. For the upside i am agree with the chancellor’s men who are concerned with fb’s insecure privacy policy. FB at least should have take some steps of assurance of german people that guarantee government about privacy of its people.

    On the other hand, government shall also needed to become friend with facebook on such delicate issues, because declaring like button illegal won’t slow down facebook growth in germany as the Germans (like people of other countries) continue to stick to fb.

  • onyeka obi

    Well it seems very clear to me that the Facebook Like button violates the laws of this German state with regards to privacy issues. In the actual sense, data is being transferred back to the US. Whether it is online or offline doesn’t really matter in strict legal terms. Way to go Germans!

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