Facebook won a legal fight on Friday in a German
court against a privacy official who demanded the US-based social
media site allow users to hide their true identity.
Facebook demands that users disclose their real names.
Many members do in fact sign up with pseudonyms, but this technically breaches the terms of service, which say, "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook."
Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, is a longtime Facebook opponent who objects to its tracking of users as well as its real name-only policy.
But a court in Kiel, the state capital, agreed with Facebook that he has no authority over the site.
It said Irish officials have oversight because Facebook's European operations are run from an office in that country.
Weichert announced he would appeal, straight after the verdict from the state administrative tribunal in Kiel.
The judges have in the past suspended executive orders issued by Weichert, who has extensive powers to regulate and fine anyone he sees as breaching privacy law.
They said Weichert could not apply German laws to Facebook Ltd, an Irish company.
Weichert attacked the ruling as "more than astounding," saying Facebook collected data in Germany and sent it to US servers.
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