The Munich Higher Regional Court ruled that Facebook was entitled to prohibit the use of pseudonyms and justified this primarily as follows
In view of the now widespread socially harmful behavior on the Internet – cyber bullying, harassment, insults and hate speech – the defendant has a legitimate interest in taking preventive action against its users. The Senate shares the view of the Regional Court that the obligation to use the true name is in principle suitable for deterring users from unlawful conduct on the Internet. According to general life experience, the inhibition threshold is significantly lower when using a pseudonym.
This probably also puts an end to the opinion that the rules on the obligation to use a clear name on Facebook constitute an unreasonable disadvantage for the user pursuant to Section 307 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB). 1 and 2 of the German Civil Code (BGB), as it violates the general principle of data minimization and, in particular, the mandatory provision of Section 13 (6) of the German Telemedia Act (TMG). Facebook has always been of the opinion that § 13 para. 6 TMG would violate EU law, as the regulation in impermissibly tightens the level of protection of the Data Protection Directive 95/46 EC.
In this regard, the OLG:
According to the case law of the highest courts, which has already been cited several times, anonymous use is inherent in the Internet (BGH, judgment of June 23, 2009 – VI ZR 196/08, BGHZ 181, 328, marginal no. 38). Due to the dominant position of the defendant as operator of “F.”, by far the largest social media platform, the customary design of such platforms is, however, also shaped by the plain name policy pursued by the defendant on this platform. The use of the specific “F.” services offered by the Defendant is also not only reasonably possible by using a pseudonym.
When examining the question of whether the customary design is consistent with the fundamental values of the legal system, the requirements of the directly applicable General Data Protection Regulation must be taken into account, which does not include any obligation on the part of the service provider to enable the pseudonymous use of telemedia. For details, please refer to the comments above under lit. bb referred. Therefore, the plaintiff cannot derive any claim to the use of a pseudonym within the scope of his own profile from the nature of the user agreement concluded with the defendant.
The General Data Protection Regulation does not contain any provisions similar to Section 13 para. 6 sentence 1 TMG corresponding provision. It is not necessary to discuss in more detail whether this circumstance in itself would be sufficient to establish a contradiction between the national statutory provision and European data protection law. The legislative history of the General Data Protection Regulation referred to by the defendant shows that the European legislator deliberately refrained from imposing an obligation on the provider of telemedia to enable the use of telemedia anonymously or under a pseudonym.