Facebook can go back to its merry ‘Real Name ways as German court rules in its favour

This is one decision that Facebook must have been looking forward to with its heart in its mouth.  A German court today overturned an earlier order from the Hamburg data protection authority on Facebook’s “real name” policy. With this decision, the sword of Damocles hanging on Facebook’s real name policy is off, at least momentarily in Germany.

The German court has allowed the social networking giant to prevent its users from using fake names. Readers will remember that in July, 2015, Hamburg data protection authority ordered Facebook to allow users to use pseudonyms on its website. The authority had ruled that Facebook’s “real name” policy violates the right to privacy.

The Hamburg administrative court on Thursday overturned the Hamburg data protection authority’s decision and said Facebook did not have to implement the order for the time being since its headquarters are in Ireland and it only has to abide by the Irish law.

Facebook’s “real name” policy has been one of the most controversial rules on the site.

According to a Tech Crunch report, Facebook has recently received criticism over requiring people to provide forms of legal identification, which do not always reflect someone’s preferred name.

Under flak from its users, Facebook has recently announced couple of changes to its real name policy to empower people from communities who are either marginalised or face discrimination, including the LGBT community.

According to Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations at Facebook, the company wants to reduce the number of people who are asked to verify their name on Facebook when they are already using the name people know them by.

“On Facebook, we require people to use the name their friends and family know them by. When people use the names they are known by, their actions and words carry more weight because they are more accountable for what they say,” Osofsky wrote in a blog post.

“However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognise that it’s also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalised or face discrimination. That’s why we’re continuing to make improvements in this area,” he wrote.