BGH: Facebook must allow pseudonyms in certain cases

Status: 01/27/2022 11:17 a.m

Users have to give their real name to Facebook. The BGH ruled that they can then use a pseudonym. Due to a change in the law, this only applies to older cases.

By Klaus Hempel, ARD Studio Karlsruhe

In its terms of service, Facebook requires all users to use their real names. Or the name they use in everyday life. The Federal Court of Justice has now ruled that this clause is illegal and therefore ineffective.

If Facebook requires a user to provide their real name when concluding a contract with the company, there is no legal problem. If the user later becomes active, however, he must have the right to work with pseudonyms, i.e. fantasy names.

The BGH referred to a provision in the Telemedia Act. According to this, providers such as Facebook must enable their users to appear under a pseudonym, insofar as this is reasonable for the provider.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation has been in effect since May 2018

What is important, however, is that the judgment of the BGH only applies to older cases because there has been a change in the law.

In May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation came into force. Nothing in this ordinance regulates a real name requirement or the use of pseudonyms. For more recent contracts, the legal situation is therefore still controversial.

(Az. III ZR 3/21 and III ZR 4/21)

BGH: Real name obligation on Facebook

Klaus Hempel, SWR, 27.1.2022 ยท 10:58 p.m.

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