Facebook is Allowed to Prohibit Pseudonyms

Facebook may forbid the use of pseudonyms. The Munich Higher Regional Court ruled in two cases on Tuesday in favor of the social network and found the so-called real name obligation to be legal.

The court stated in both judgments that the obligation to use the real name is likely to deter users from unlawful behavior on the Internet. “When using a pseudonym, the inhibition threshold after general life experience is significantly lower.”

Facebook also justifies the real name obligation set out in its terms of use in a similar way. It says: “When people stand behind their opinions and actions, our community is safer and can be held more accountable.”

In the two present cases, Facebook blocked the profiles of two people who used fantasy names. The regional courts of Traunstein and Ingolstadt had found different in the first instance. In Ingolstadt the real name requirement was rejected, in Traunstein it was confirmed. In the case negotiated in Traunstein, racist postings about black cannibals and a dancing Adolf Hitler were added.

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