Dec. 18, 2012 at 3:21 PM ET
Facebook says it won't comply with a German privacy watchdog's demand to let users register with fake names.
The data protection commissioner of Schleswig-Holstein state issued an order Monday requiring that the social networking site permits pseudonymous accounts.
Thilo Weichert says the California-based company's policy of requiring real names breaches German law and European rules designed to protect free speech online.
Facebook said Tuesday that the order is "without merit, a waste of German taxpayers' money and we will fight it vigorously."
Weichert says his office can impose a penalty against Facebook if it doesn't comply with the order within two weeks.
Facebook says it has more than 20 million active users in Germany.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.