German Officials Say 'Nein' To Facebook's Like Button

German authorities are unliking Facebook's fan pages over privacy concerns.

German authorities are unliking Facebook’s fan pages over privacy concerns.

The Data Protection Commissioner in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Thilo Weichert, shut down Facebook fan pages and urged the removal of like buttons from websites, saying they lead to profiling and thus violate privacy stipulations in both European and German law, according to the Associated Press.

Specifically, Weichert is concerned that anyone who visits Facebook or uses a plug-in can be tracked by the company for two years. He said the social network violates state law by passing content data to the social network’s servers in the U.S, and urged state agencies to de-activate their pages, remove like buttons from web sites and avoid setting up Facebook accounts. Agencies have until the end of September to de-friend Facebook pages.

A Facebook spokesperson concedes that an IP address can be tracked, telling the news service:

We delete this technical data within 90 days. That is in keeping with normal industry standards.

The move by Germany is in line with the European Union’s stricter data protection laws. The EU began an overhaul of these laws last year, making them far more stringent than regulations used by the U.S. Department of Commerce, for example.

This isn’t the first time Germany has had issues with Facebook. Earlier this month, Germany scolded Facebook over its facial recognition software claiming it, too, violates EU privacy laws.

In January, Facebook granted German members more control over their email address books after a dispute over its friend finder service.

What do you think of Germany’s position on the Facebook like button?