Some of your “friends” don’t want to be found — at least not on Facebook. And now, according to Germany’s highest court, they are entitled to not get inundated by unwanted requests. Earlier this week, the federal court of justice in Germany determined that Facebook’s “friend finder” feature constitutes harassment, upholding decisions previously issued by two lower courts.
Facebook’s “friend finder” extends its influence to beyond the social media platform, essentially crawling your email list and then sending invitations to your friends who are not yet on the social network to create an account. According to German officials, this sort of behavior is “intrusive” and has now been disallowed in the country.
The decision cannot come as much of a surprise to Facebook, which, along with a number of other American-based tech companies, has had its fair share of legal battles throughout Europe. With privacy policies across the ocean considerably more stringent than those at home, Facebook, Google, and other firms have had to comply with stricter regulations.
A Facebook spokesperson issued a statement regarding the recent decision, noting that the company would work “to assess any impact on our services” in the country. And as for the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV), the group that filed the complaint against Friend Finder way back in 2010, its members are curious as to what further implications this ruling may have on other companies.
“What the judgment means exactly for the current Friends Finder, we now have to find out,” said Klaus Mueller, head of the VZBV. “In addition to Facebook, other services use this form of advertising to attract new users. They must now probably rethink,” he added.