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Facebook Friend Finder Found Illegal in Germany

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For some people services like Facebook's Friend Finder are annoying. You don't want to see who of your many contacts already have Facebook and if they don't, you can't be bothered to invite them. The simple response to people who don't want to use the Friend Finder is to just not use it. The tool is there to be useful but according to the highest German courts, what the feature does is illegal.

When you give this information to big apps or online services you usually know what they're going to do with it. You know that if you provide them with these email addresses, the site will email that person on behalf of you to ask them to join the site. As annoying as it can be, it's fair enough. It's no worse than junk mail in the post but hopefully replying to it is a little less risky. The problem is that unless you've outright asked the person you're inviting whether you can email them or not, they don't know its coming. For some people it's great, others it's irritating and for some people it's an actual problem. If you've declined joining several times and yet you still keep getting promotional material then its spam. You can block the messages from coming again but according to the VZVB federation of German consumer relations, this isn't enough. And the fact is still that you couldn't block people from sending you the messages again until 2011 after another legal battle with Germany.

It isn't only the spam emails violating people's privacy that the German courts have an issue with though. It's also that it's unwanted advertising. Now, this is what's a little bit weird as you can't escape advertising. It's everywhere and sometimes spam emails come through from places you've never even heard of so Facebook isn't alone on this. However since it's apparently not expected, it's considered unwanted and illegal advertising. What the German courts expect to happen in light of this beats me but it seems as if Facebook will not be allowed to run the same.

When something like this happens it's difficult to know what to think. Promotional emails can be incredibly annoying and you don't always want the advertising. However, it doesn't really seem like they're doing much wrong either now. Facebook have worked their way around Germany's restrictions before and they're bound to again. You just have to ask, what are the Germans going to consider wrong next time?



Rosina is a Songbird rookie with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is hoping that Content Writing will turn out to be a good career choice in the mean time! Follow her @RosinaAtSMF


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Facebook Friend Finder Found Illegal in Germany Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 Rating: 5

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