• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
High Court scolds Facebook for sending ‘harassing’ emails
Photo: DPA

High Court scolds Facebook for sending ‘harassing’ emails

DPA/The Local · 15 Jan 2016, 09:40

Published: 15 Jan 2016 09:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Jan 2016 09:40 GMT+01:00

The ruling concerns Facebook’s "Friend Finder” from its 2010 version which encouraged new members to invite their friends - which in effect meant handing over a contact list of email addresses to the social media giant.

Facebook let it be known after the ruling that Friend Finder no longer exists in the form in which the high court was considering.

But the company added that as soon as the written judgement was available they would "fundamentally check what influence it would have on the current service".

The decision doesn’t just affect Facebook though, but concerns all social media organizations that send invitations to email address books of new members.

Twitter didn’t want to comment on Thursday as to whether it would be affected by the ruling.

Facebook argued in court that its emails only informed people of the technical platform it was offering which they could use as a communication network.

But consumer rights groups said that clear business interests were at stake as the aim of the email was to encourage people to join Facebook as opposed to a competing social network.

The judge came down on the side of the consumer rights groups.

"We are of the opinion that this is an advert for Facebook, which Facebook is also responsible for," said the presiding judge, explaining that the emails contained a link which only needed to be clicked on by the recipient to start the process of opening an account.

The court also ruled that Facebook deceived new members with the presentation of the Friend Finder function, explaining that the question "Are your friends already on Facebook?" didn’t make it clear that invitations would be sent to unregistered contacts.

Story continues below…

Information making clear that this would happen was hidden behind a link containing the text "Your password will not be saved by Facebook."

Although the 2010 version of Friend Finder no longer exists, Facebook still has a function whereby users are encouraged to import email contact lists for the company's use. Consumer rights groups consider this to also be legally dubious.

The Consumer Rights Centre is currently embroiled in two other law suits against Facebook - one of which concerns the design of the App Center, the other concerns the slogan "Facebook is and remains free".

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,545
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd