Kindermädchen (Nanny) Court Protects Facebook Users – Hunting Down Original Sources

Facebook’s Friend Finder found unlawful by Germany’s highest court by Lisa Vaas.

From the post:

Reuters reports that a panel of the Federal Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook’s Friend Finder feature, used to encourage users to market the social media network to their contacts, constituted advertising harassment in a case that was filed in 2010 by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV).

Friends Finder asks users for permission to snort the e-mail addresses of their friends or contacts from their address books, thereby allowing the company to send invitations to non-Facebook users to join up.

There was a time when German civil law and the reasoning of its courts were held in high regard. I regret to say it appear that may not longer be the case.

This decision on Facebook asking users to spread the use of Facebook being a good example.

From the Reuters account, it appears that sending of unsolicited email is the key to the court’s decision.

It’s difficult to say much more about the court’s decision because finding something other than re-tellings of the Reuters report is difficult.

You can start with the VZBV press release on the decision: Wegweisendes BGH-Urteil: Facebooks Einladungs-E-Mails waren unlautere Werbung, but it too is just a summary.

Unlike the Reuters report, it at least has: Auf anderen Webseiten Pressemitteilung des BGH, which takes you to: Bundesgerichtshof zur Facebook-Funktion “Freunde finden,” a press release by the court about its decision. 😉

The court’s press release offers: Siehe auch: Urteil des I. Zivilsenats vom 14.1.2016 – I ZR 65/14 –, which links to a registration facility to subscribe for a notice of the opinion of the court when it is published.

No promises on when the decision will appear. I subscribed today, January 22nd and the decision was made on January 14, 2016.

I did check Aktuelle Entscheidungen des Bundesgerichtshofes (recent decisions), but it refers you back to the register for the opinion to appear in the future.

Without the actual decision, it’s hard to tell if the court is unaware of the “delete” key on German keyboards or if there is some other reason to inject itself into a common practice on social media sites.

I will post a link to the decision when it becomes available. (The German court makes its decisions available for free to the public and charges a document fee for profit making services, or so I understand the terms of the site.)

PS: For journalists, researchers, bloggers, etc. I consider it a best practice to always include pointers to original sources.

PPS: The German keyboard does include a delete key (Entf) if you had any doubts:

880px-German-T2-Keyboard-Prototype-May-2012

(Select the image to display a larger version.)

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