Update 2 – Thomas Vehmeier explains on the Internet Economics blog (in German) why „think global, act local“ isn’t just a good slogan for environmentalists. When it comes to Social Media Marketing, it should be the guiding principle from the outset – one would think that flickr’s problems in this context would not have gone unnoticed. Yet he mentions that facebook doesn’t even seem to have a phone in Germany. Still, he shares my opinion that facebook is the most interesting social networking tool out there.
Update – It seems the campaign has been cancelled (see, eg, Frank Helmschrott’s blog (in German)). Currently, I can no longer see the ad when googling for my name. But –
You may try for yourself. I’m not sure about the legal situation in this case, after all, there are a couple of other people who legitimately respond to my name. Carsten Ulbricht has a quick legal analysis regarding the question of the applicable privacy legislation on his blog (edit: in German). His suggestion, that German law is applicable in this case since German and European privacy regulations cannot be waived by accepting the facebook terms of services may be correct. It still begs the question if facebook has actually used member names (and then possibly violated privacy regulations) or simply combinations of first and last names, possibly „inspired“ by the actual names in its database.
But still, it’s feels dodgy to find an advertisement for facebook when you’re googling your name. If the initial reaction of the German blogosphere is any indication, this will at least be the first communications problem facebook faces in its still recent attempt to gain market share in Germany. Someone in this comment thread is suggesting sending facebook an invoice for the use of their name in an ad – if there’s a serious legal rationale for that, I might well do it ;).
Until then, if you’re part of the club – and a member of facebook -, why not join the facebook group protesting this strategy?