BERLIN - 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.