Social Media Matters: State in Germany makes Facebook “Like” button illegal

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, Aug. 26, 2011
Metro section

State in Germany makes Facebook “Like” button illegal

Perhaps their privacy concerns are somewhat legitimate, but this is still rather silly and overblown in my books.

According to an Aug. 19 Associated Press report, Germany’s state of Schleswig-Holstein’s data protection commissioner, Thilo Weichert, has ordered state-run institutions to remove their Facebook pages and remove the “Like” button from their websites. According to the report, liking a Facebook page “leads to profiling that violates German and European law.”

Facebook says it’s in full compliance with European data protection laws, but concedes it can see the IP addresses of those who visit the website or who click on a “Like” button. Weichert, however, claims Facebook is violating “German and European data protection laws by passing content data to the social network’s servers in the U.S.”

Facebook says it deletes any data gathered within 90 days.

Weichert is also going one step further in his concerns regarding privacy by urging Internet users not to set up Facebook accounts and not to click on any “Like” buttons in order to avoid being profiled.

Weichert needs to realize that going online is a bit like walking down the street in broad daylight. Sometimes, people are just going to see you – and recognize you.

Buy your personal domain name

This is advice that I give everyone: If you rely on your name for business-related purposes (writer, entertainer, sales, etc.), it’s always a good idea to get your hands on the domain that matches your name.

For example, I own and Those are the natural URLs someone would try if they are looking for me. It also gives me a very easy-to-remember e-mail address –

Owning your own personal domain name is a necessity in today’s world. You can buy domain names from a number of services, including Namecheap (this is the service I personally use), 1and1 and GoDaddy, to name just a few.

Part of your personal branding should include owning your own domain name. Even if you never use it, you should at least control it.

It’s also very important to reserve your personal name on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter if you can. If you don’t do it, someone else will!

Removing yourself from Facebook group e-mails or multi-recipient messages

Recent changes to Facebook have good and bad news for users.

First, the bad. I despise the fact that others can automatically add you to a group without your permission. I’ve been added to groups by others and it drives me crazy. Sure, you’re alerted and can remove yourself, but people really should ask before adding you to a group without your permission.

It’s likely OK if you’re a member of an organization and that organization starts a group. For instance, I’m joining a local Rotary club and we have a new Facebook group. It would be reasonable for the group’s owner to add me without asking first. I have a natural affinity to the group. However, before adding someone to a political or advocacy group, it’s never a good idea to do so without asking the person’s permission first.

Also, it’s important to know that you can stop receiving endless e-mails and notifications from a group simply by clicking on the “Edit Settings” tab at the top of the group’s page. Choose the e-mail options and alerts that suit you best.

It’s also not a great idea to send out a Facebook message to multiple recipients because the many replies are automatically sent to everyone. There’s e-mail for that. To remove yourself from such a list, click on the “Actions” tab at the top of the message and choose “Leave conversation.” That will ensure you will stop receiving replies to a message you didn’t want or ask for in the first place. The ability to remove yourself from a conversation is a much-welcome new Facebook messaging feature!

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I feature three YouTube channels that you may want to check out. This week’s videos all deal with nail art – as in art painted (or sculpted) on your fingernails. (Who knew? I didn’t, but it’s very popular, apparently.) Please note that all subscriber numbers are approximate only.

Cute Polish (155,000 subscribers): This popular channel features nail art tutorials on how to paint unique designs on your fingernails. Most-viewed tutorial: Newspaper Nail Art (1.27 million views).

Cosmozoner (13,300 subscribers): Videos feature nail painting and 3D acrylic nail sculpting. DVDs are also available. Most-viewed tutorial: Nail Art by Liliya Sereditskaya (Breath of Spring) (942,000 views).

My Simple Little Pleasures (54,000 subscribers). Tutorials on nail art and water marbling by Colette. Most-viewed tutorial: Valentine’s Day Water Marble Nail Art Tutorial (3.03 million views).

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