Facebook rejects German demand to allow fake names

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Associated Press

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM

BERLIN (AP) — Facebook says it won't comply with a German privacy watchdog's demand to let users register with fake names.

The data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein state issued an order Monday requiring that the social networking site permits pseudonymous accounts.

Thilo Weichert says the California-based company's policy of requiring real names breaches German law and European rules designed to protect free speech online.

Facebook said Tuesday that the order is "without merit, a waste of German taxpayers' money and we will fight it vigorously."

Weichert says his office can impose a penalty against Facebook if it doesn't comply with the order within two weeks.

Facebook says it has more than 20 million active users in Germany.

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