A top court in Germany has ruled that Facebook’s friend finder feature is illegal.
This feature encourages the millions who use Facebook to market the network to their contacts which in turn join the platform, sky-rocketing the social network’s user base.
At the moment, Facebook has a record 1.55 billion users from all over the world, a population that no other social networking platform has managed to put together in one place. Last year, the company revealed that it was connecting up to 1 billion people in a single day.
According to the federal ruling in Germany, the friend finder feature of Facebook constitutes advertisement harassment in a case that was filed back in 2010. The court went ahead and concluded that this move was deceptive, thus confirming the decisions that had previously been made by two lower courts in 2012 and 2014. The two courts had ruled that through the friend finder tool, the social networking giant had violated the country’s laws on data security and unfair business practices.
To make the matters worse for Facebook, the court also said that the company had not in any way informed the owners of the data what they intended to do with their contacts’ data.
Facebook, through a spokesperson, said that it was still waiting for the court to make the final decision regarding the matter and that its legal team will also be looking into it in a bid to “assess any possible impacts on our services” in the country and other parts of the world.
According to the body that had filed the case in 2010 – Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) – this decision by the court is a welcome to them. However, there are fears that the said decision might extend to other similar service providers in the country, especially on advertising.
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