Facebook told sending emails to ‘invite friends’ is illegal in Germany

Back in those far away days (maybe you were an emo, or enjoyed WKD, or thought Facebook would never rival Myspace) you may remember signing up and being asked if you wanted to ‘find a friend’.

Facebook would send out a blanket email to people in your contact list who weren’t using the service.


Now Germany’s highest court has ruled this is advertising ‘harassment’, as people didn’t sign up to receive these emails.


This confirms the judgement of two lower courts.


The Federation of German Consumer Organisations filed the case in 2010, arguing Facebook violated German laws on data protection and unfair trade practices.

It could have a knock-on effect on other social media sites, as several others use the feature and may have to rethink they practices.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Facebook in Germany said it was waiting to receive the formal decision and would study the findings ‘to assess any impact on our services’.