Facebook ‘Like’ Button Deemed Illegal In Germany

Written by Rob Soto on Aug. 20, 2011

The “like” button on Facebook was started as a simple way for friends to show approval of things such as status updates or photos uploaded, but one state in Germany is not having any of it. In fact, they have deemed the button “illegal” due to strict privacy issues.

On Friday, the state of Schleswig-Hostein ordered its government offices to remove the button and shut down all fan pages because they feel that it violates the privacy laws of German and European data.

According to the Independent Centre of Privacy Protection, once an individual “likes” something on their news feed, Facebook collects the information through a server in the United States. That, in turn, creates a profile of that person, which is strictly against the privacy laws in Germany.

“Such a profiling infringes German and European data protection law. There is no sufficient information of users and there is no choice; the wording in the conditions of use and privacy statements of Facebook does not nearly meet the legal requirements relevant for compliance of legal notice, privacy consent and general terms of use,” a release issues Friday said.

In order to stop the allegations from occurring, the agency is encouraging its residents to not “like” anything and even better, distance themselves from Facebook altogether.

“Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years,” the release added.

Facebook, of course, is denying the claims. The Menlo Park, California company says that they have tried to reach out to authorities in Germany regarding their strict privacy concerns in the past in order to compromise with them.

“We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU data protection standards,” Patrick Noyes, a spokesman for Facebook, said. “The Facebook Like button is such a popular feature because people have complete control over how their information is shared through it. For more than a year, the plugin has brought value to many businesses and individuals every day. We will review the materials produced by the (Independent Centre for Privacy Protection), both on our own behalf and on the behalf of Web users throughout Germany.”


  • Troydante

    Ve haff vays of you only liking vat ve vant you to like … und if you don’t like it, vell, …

  • Troydante

    This is another good reason Denmark should never have given up Schleswig-Holstein to Germany …