European authorities have long given Facebook a much harder time than their American counterparts, and the country of Germany is certainly no exception. Earlier this month, a German privacy commissioner ordered all German government ministries to shut down their Facebook pages by the end of the year after finding that Facebook has failed to change its practices to comply with European privacy laws.
“Given the continuing violation of personal data protection, there is no time to waste,” data protection commissioner Ulrich Kelber wrote in a letter to government departments. “If you have a fan page, I strongly recommend you switch it off by the end of the year.”
According to Kelber, it’s impossible to run one of these pages without followers’ data being transmitted to the United States. This violates EU law, which only allows user data to be transferred to another jurisdiction with equally strong privacy laws. And, of course, that is far from the case here in the U.S.
For its part, Facebook said it clarified these rules back in 2019 and took concerns such as these into consideration. However, it doesn’t appear that Germany’s regulators were satisfied with its explanations, and now an entire country’s social media could go offline.
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