On Jan. 16, 2018, the Regional Court (Landgericht) of Berlin ruled that a popular social media network’s default settings, as well as parts of the General Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, infringe on German Data Protection Law. In particular, the court ruled that the default privacy settings require the prior consent by the user.

Most of the ruling deals with the insufficiency of various declarations of consent (Zustimmungserklärungen) that the network obtains from its users through its General Terms and Conditions. Among the unlawful declarations are those concerning the transfer and processing of personal data to/in the United States, as well as the use of plain-text (Klarname) names and profile pictures for commercial, sponsored, or related content. The Court explicitly stated, however, that the data processing based on the General Terms and Conditions was not subject to this ruling. The Court’s decision is not final and both parties may wish to appeal.