German privacy group pushes Facebook to allow the use of pseudonyms

thai man imprisoned for insulting monarchy facebook gets taste of its own medicine  forced to hand over user information cour
Facebook’s controversial policy that requires users to list their real name came under fire by a German privacy watchdog group. The group, the Hamburg Data Protection Authority, serves as an overseer of Facebook in Germany. On Tuesday, the organization deemed that Facebook cannot change a user’s chosen name to their real name, nor can the social network request official identification.

The policy was brought to the attention of the watchdog group after a Facebook user complained the site had blocked her account because she use a pseudonym. Facebook also requested a copy of her ID and swapped her username back to her real name. She made the changes in order to avoid being contacted for unsolicited business matters.

A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters, “The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.” The Hamburg Data Protection Authority believes the opposite, that forcing the use of real names violates the privacy of the user.

Germany is not the first European country to take issue with Facebook policies. A privacy group in Belgium recently took Facebook to court over the site’s location tracking of users. Authorities are working with partners in Spain, the Netherlands, and France to investigate Facebook’s privacy policy.

Ireland has taken a contrarian stance on the issue, deeming the reasoning for the real name policy — including child safety and prevention of online harassment — to be justified. The decision was handed down by an Irish watchdog group in 2011 after performing an audit on the policy.

Facebook maintains its European headquarters in Ireland and has stated that its policies need only abide by Irish law though they apply to users across Europe. The real name policy does not violate any laws in Ireland and Facebook believes it is not in the jurisdiction of any other European authorities.

News

Amazon customers are getting emails with someone else’s order information

Some Amazon customers say they’re receiving emails from Amazon about orders placed by other people. Those emails contain personal information like the person's address and what they purchased on Amazon.
Home Theater

Plex ends support for home theater PCs with new desktop app

Plex users who have traditionally relied on their PCs as an all-in-one solution may be forced to switch to Kodi. Plex has announced it's replacing its Plex Media Player app with a version that no longer supports TV Mode.
Home Theater

Spotify’s favorite speaker feature lets your tunes follow you with just a tap

Spotify appears to be testing a new feature that lets users seamlessly switch their listening session to a preferred Spotify Connect device when the Spotify app detects that it's nearby.
Social Media

The EU could hit Facebook with billions in fines over privacy violations

The European Union is reportedly nearing the end of its investigations into some of the cases it has opened against Facebook pertaining to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. The EU currently has 11 open cases against the…
Social Media

Pinterest aims to be more than just inspiration with its new shopping hub

Pinterest now has a dedicated home for your personalized shopping recommendations. Available from the home feed, the platform now collects products based on user interests in a single location.
News

In SEC filing, Facebook admits Libra cryptocurrency may not happen after all

Facebook’s drive to create its own worldwide cryptocurrency might have hit a brick wall. In a new SEC filing, the company said that Libra’s planned 2020 launch might be delayed – or it might not ever happen at all.
News

Sen. Josh Hawley wants to ban infinite scroll and autoplay videos

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced legislation on Tuesday calling for tech giants to curb deceptive techniques that fuel social media addiction.The bill would ban features that he says can be addictive to users like infinite scroll and autoplay.
Wearables

Facebook’s ‘brain-computer interface’ could let you type with your mind

Facebook talked a couple of years ago about creating technology that lets you type with your mind. Aimed primarily at patients with speech loss due to paralysis, the company recently offered an update on its ambitious project.
News

Facebook just deleted fake accounts from the Middle East

Facebook removed fake accounts from UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia because of coordinated inauthentic behavior. The social network announced in a blog post the removal of pages, groups, and accounts that originated in these countries.
News

The FTC wants to know exactly why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp

The Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation into Facebook will focus in on its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC wants to know if Facebook tried to acquire its social media rivals before they would become a threat
News

Facebook is going to add its name to Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook plans to add its name to both Instagram and WhatsApp as politicians call for the social media giant to be broken apart and the FTC investigates Facebook’s acquisition of both companies.
Web

Were they really that bad? Here are the 10 most disliked videos on YouTube

Ever wondered which videos are the most disliked videos on YouTube? Well, we have the top ten list you’re looking for. Here are the latest videos with the most dislikes currently on YouTube.
News

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, but no fix for its fake news problem

WhatsApp is struggling to stem the tide of fake news in India, its biggest market. In the last few years, its platform has been inundated with an around-the-clock avalanche of misinformation -- misleading mobs into lynching innocents and…
Mobile

Telegram’s new Slow Mode aims to bring order to noisy group chats

Messaging app Telegram has just released some new features that are bound to please. Slow Mode aims to bring some order to group chats, while Silent Messages ensures you won’t wake your buddy if you get in touch late in the day.