A German court ruled on Thursday that US social networking giant Facebook has the right to demand that users identify themselves by their real names.

The administrative court in Hamburg said that Facebook outside North America was managed from its subsidiary in Ireland, so the Irish law took precedence over German regulations.

“It is the law of an EU member state, which the disputed data processing is closely associated with, which is to be applied [in the case],” the judgment said, adding the German subsidiary was mostly dealing with advertising.

The German data protection agency upheld the complaint, but the Hamburg court overrode this decision.

The judgment comes after a German Facebook user filed a complaint against Facebook’s “real names” policy and its decision to block her account for using a nickname.


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