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German state officials try to ban Facebook's 'like' button

"Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years," reads an English version of the mandate.
By Aileen Graef   |   June 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM   |   Comments

KIEL, Germany, June 25 (UPI) -- Officials from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein ordered all government offices to remove all "like" buttons and "fan" pages from their web pages.

The mandate came on Thursday, after the Independent Center for Privacy Protection released a report claiming that the "likes" on Facebook are stored and sent to the U.S.,where Facebook uses the information to create profiles that violate their stringent privacy laws.

Any government agency that fails to comply with the state orders could be slapped with a 50,000 euro fine. They suggest that the state organizations cut Facebook altogether and deactivate any accounts.

"Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years," reads an English version of the mandate.

Facebook, who has been working to address the privacy concerns, completely refuted the accusations. Facebook spokesman Patrick Noyes responded to the report in a statement.

"We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU data protection standards. The Facebook Like button is such a popular feature because people have complete control over how their information is shared through it. For more than a year, the plugin has brought value to many businesses and individuals every day. We will review the materials produced by the (Independent Centre for Privacy Protection), both on our own behalf and on the behalf of Web users throughout Germany."
Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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