Is Facebook Breaking German Law?

Many have questioned Facebook’s decision to place users’ faces on ads within the social network. Just last week, their decision to do so resulted in a lawsuit for Blockbuster. Facebook has just taken their policy one step further by leveraging users to promote their own site outside of Facebook. This morning one of my German readers, Ibrahim Evsan sent me a link to his article highlighting how Facebook was now using his name to promote the site on Google.

I immediately went to go see if I was showing up in ads in Google but alas, I was not as fortunate as my friend Ibrahim. The decision by Facebook to place these advertisements on sites outside of Facebook is a substantial one, especially since this isn’t even tied to their Social Ads program. It may even be illegal. I must be clear that the policy to run these ads may not be just one of Facebook but also one of Google’s. I recall seeing similar ads on Google previously but perhaps my memory serves me wrong.

Either way, the real question is if this is legal in Germany. In the U.S. and Canada such practices are definitely illegal. Additionally, for a company based in the U.S. to be using these practices abroad seems counterintuitive. While in Rome do as the Romans do but I’m not so sure that this activity is what most Germans do. Unfortunately I can’t speak to the legality of this practice. Do any readers know anything about this?

Facebook Google Ads Screenshot