Germany Rules Facebook’s ‘Friend Finder’ Feature As Illegal


Facebook’s friend-finder feature is used daily all around the world.

Well … not in Germany, anymore.

Reuters is reporting that Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has deemed the social media network’s feature unlawful due to the way it garners information from users’ email lists and solicits those people who aren’t a part of Facebook to join.

In other words, the ruling essentially likens Facebook’s friend-finder feature to spam and online advertising harassment, adding that the company didn’t efficiently inform its members about how their information was being used.

According to Reuters, this court case dates back to 2010 from the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. This week, the court agreed with the complaint, ruling that the feature is a deceptive manner of marketing.

Prior to this, two lower courts in Berlin in 2012 and 2014 ruled that the social media network violated German regulations about data protection.

(Photo : Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News)

A spokesperson for Facebook in Germany told Reuters that its social media company has “to assess any impact on our services” in the country.

This decision could also pave the way for the Federation of German Consumer Organizations to clamp down on other online networks that use this form of marketing.

“What the judgment means exactly for the current Friends Finder, we now have to find out,” Klaus Mueller, head of the group, told Reuters. “In addition to Facebook, other services use this form of advertising to attract new users. They must now probably rethink.”