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Facebook Users in Germany Can Use Any Name They Want Now

The social media company lost its fight with German officials over users’ ability to use fake names.
July 29, 2015, 3:14pm

Officials in Germany have ruled that Facebook cannot stop users from using fake names on the site, saying the social media company's "real name" policy violates privacy rights.

A woman previously filed a complaint with the Hamburg data protection authority, which regulates Facebook operations in Germany, after the website locked her out of her account for using a fake name and required her to show official identification to access it again.

Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, said this violates the right guaranteed by German law to use a pseudonym, according to The Guardian.

"As in many other complaints against Facebook, this case demonstrates that the network wants to enforce the so-called real names policy with no regard to national legislation." he said.

The real name requirement for Facebook has been the root of much controversy in the past, affecting Native Americans who want to use their real names and drag queens who want to use their stage names. It also came into public debate once again in June when a trans Facebook employee was locked out of her own account after changing her name.

Facebook said it was disappointed by the decision in Germany, according to BBC, saying "The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people's privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they're sharing and connecting with."