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Germany bans Facebook Pages, Like Button

By Abdul Nisar

Facebook block
Berlin, Aug 21: The northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein has banned social networking website Facebook and asked local websites to remove Facebook Like buttons.

According to a report in technology site ZDNet, the Independent Center for Privacy Protection (ULD) banned local websites from using Facebook Pages. The ULD Commissioner Thilo Weichert said "the social network's plugin, which allows Internet users to express their appreciation of something online, illegally puts together a profile of their Web habits."

Companies were asked to remove Facebook Pages before Sep 1 or will have to pay a fine up to $72,000. ULD found that the social networking plugins help companies to track users for up to 2 years. Companies can record users interactions with web pages and their activities.

"Web analytics is among those services and especially informative for advertising purposes. It is paid with the data of the users. With the help of these data Facebook has gained an estimated market value of more than 50 bn. dollars. Institutions must be aware that they cannot shift their responsibility for data privacy upon the enterprise Facebook which does not have an establishment in Germany and also not upon the users," ULD Commissioner Thilo Weichert said in a statement.

Facebook, world's largest social networking with more than 750 million users, said that they will approach European Union to remove the ban. Facebook spokesman added that the service is complied with all the privacy laws of the European Union.

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