Germany Bans Facebook Users From 'Liking' Each Other

Clicking “Like” while using Facebook is now a crime in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, thanks to data protection officials in the state claiming the feature violates EU law.

They stated that the feature allows Facebook to gather data on users’ browsing habits which crosses boundaries set by their legislation.

All institutions in the province have been ordered to delete their “fan” pages on the site and to remove the “Like” feature Facebook link from their own websites, by the data protection commissioner in Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert.

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Any site not in compliance with the order could face a fine of up to 50,000 Euros.

According to Weichert, Facebook’s “Like” feature breaches provincial, national and European laws since it allows Facebook’s U.S. servers to collect data on foreign users’ internet surfing habits.

It does this by logging the IP addresses of internet users whose visits result in “Like” buttons being loaded.

The data is then used by Facebook to create a profile based on the user’s activity.

This type activity is in violation of Germany’s strict privacy laws.

Weichert claims you don’t even have to be a member of Facebook for this to happen to you.

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

The social media outlet confirmed that IP addresses of internet users visiting sites with its “Like” feature are visible to Facebook, but claims any data collected on them was deleted within 90 days in compliance with “normal industry standards.”

Facebook is now trying to work out privacy concerns with German authorities who are urging internet users to abandon the social media site completely.

“We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU data protection standards,” said Facebook spokesman Patrick Noyes in a statement.

Websites in Schleswig-Holstein Germany have been given until the end of September to comply with the order issued by data protection officials.

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