Facebook loses to hairdresser, has to pay 50,000€ fine


In Germany, Facebook lost a case against a hairdresser who didn’t have a Facebook account.


The hairdresser found out through customers that, although he didn’t have a Facebook account and nobody in his family (who worked in the salon) had an account, there was a Facebook page for the salon!

He wrote to Facebook in Hamburg asking them to delete the page. Their reply was that he should log onto Facebook and claim the page for himself. He repeated that he didn’t have an account and didn’t want to create an account, he just wanted the page deleted, end of story. Facebook turned a deaf ear and repeated that the page was his for the taking, he just needed to sign up to Facebook.

Getting nowhere, he filed a case in the court in Hannover. Facebook were informed, but didn’t react. The allotted day came and went and Facebook didn’t turn up. They case was decided without their input and a judgement was made against them, they were ordered to delete the page. The order was duly processed and sent to Facebook.

Facebook then had 2 weeks to file for lodge an appeal. They didn’t. They also didn’t delete the page that they were ordered to.

Around 6 months later, the hairdresser went back to court, Facebook didn’t turn up and Facebook were charged with contempt, ordered to pay 50,000€ plus court costs for both sides.

It was only after the demand for payment arrived at Facebook’s European HQ that movement came into the case. Facebook suddenly came to life, appealed the payment and tried to lodge an appeal for the original case. They tried to get the fine recinded in Hannover, but that was refused. They also tried to appeal to a higher instance in Celle, but they were told that they had waited too long and that there was nothing procedurally wrong with the original judgement.

There are a few more details, but I don’t have online access to the story at the moment and the print version is at home, I’ll try and update with more info later. But I found it funny, in a David and Golliath way.

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