Friend Finder is the Facebook app that retrieves information from your email contact list and sends invitations to people to join up, this allows Facebook to market to non-users. When you sign up for the app it tells you to import your email and phones contacts so you can easily send promotional invitations to your friends.
A German court has upheld the decisions from lower Berlin courts in 2012 and 2014, deeming the reason to be that the promotion is “intrusive”. The court found that Facebook violated Germany’s laws on data protection and unfair trade practices by using deceptive marketing tools and not properly explaining the app to users. Furthermore, the panel of German Federal Judges, found that what Facebook was doing was the equivalent of “advertising harassment”.
It’s not the first time that the social media giant has come under fire from European countries either. Last year an Austrian court approved a class action suit of over 25,000 people against Facebook. Once again this was another privacy issue, people from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Australia were all involved. This was due to Facebook’s apparent support of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance system which meant that they could track users’ activity on websites and hand out their data to external sources.
Facebook have changed the app since the court case started. Now you have the ability to choose what numbers and emails the app scoops up and anyone receiving them has the ability to block future invitations. But this all seems too little too late as the German court’s decision will most likely ban the current iteration of the app as well. We don’t know if the changes will be rolled out globally or restricted to Germany. A Facebook representative told Reuter that they would need to take some time and study the findings to “assess any impact” the ruling would have on their services.