A court in Schleswig-Holstein in Germany has ruled that Facebook can maintain its real names policy, which in some senses violates strict Germany laws guaranteeing the right to privacy, because Facebook’s regional HQ is in Ireland–where the laws are less strict. The original challenge had been made by the Schleswig data protection body, and it has already said it plans to appeal the new ruling.
Facebook’s argument is that a real names policy protects its users. Like other big tech players from the U.S. and elsewhere, Facebook has run into difficulties with German law before. China, famed for its state-level censorship of free online speech has recently enacted its own edict that all online activity must be carried out under a genuine real-life ID.
Is Facebook’s “real names” policy actually in the best interests of its users? Should you be able to have a pseudonym account?