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Facebook rejects fake names request

Facebook says it will not comply with a German privacy watchdog's request to let users register with fake names.

The data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein state issued an order requiring that the social networking site permits pseudonymous accounts.

Thilo Weichert said the California-based company's policy of requiring real names breaches German law and European rules designed to protect free speech online.

Facebook said that the order is "without merit, a waste of German taxpayers' money and we will fight it vigorously".

Mr Weichert said his office can impose a penalty against Facebook if it does not comply with the order within two weeks.

Facebook says it has more than 20 million active users in Germany.

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