The key point of the ruling is that Facebook needs to change the wording of its policy to make it clearer that Friend Finder imports contacts from their email address books and uploads them to the social network. It does not, however, require Facebook to end the practice or change how Friend Finder works.
That's a big win for Facebook, at least in the short term. In an addendum to its initial public offering filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, Facebook made it clear that sooner or later, and more than likely sooner, it would reach the saturation point for recruiting new users. Friend Finder, which can send invites to people in your address book who are not already using Facebook, will be an important tool in Facebook's effort to make sure it secures every last possible user it can find.
The ruling also seems to appease the Central Consumer Association, or Verbrauchercentrale Bundesverband (VZBV), the umbrella organization for consumer rights groups in Germany, which brought the case against Facebook two years ago.
"We won on all counts", said Steffen Küßner, a spokesman for the VZBV.
The group has promised to continue its close scrutiny of Facenook and how its privacy policies are implemented in Germany, but the fact that the group is happy should make Facebook happy as well.
The only real setback for Facebook in the ruling is that the German judge agreed with VZBV's claim that Facebook violated German law by claiming ownership of photos and original music users uploaded to the site. Facebook, the judge said, can only use such works with the consent of users.