The private, personal character that makes online social networks appealing to people looking to stay in touch with friends and family is also leading data protection advocates from around the globe to criticize the sites.
Armed with some of Europe's most wide-reaching data protection laws, critics in Germany have accused social networks and other online sites of collecting and making commercial use of personal information without members' explicit permission - as required by law.
Google and Facebook are both under investigation in Germany, as well as other countries, for their privacy and data retention practices.
Deutsche Welle looks at the actions being taken against a number of Web sites and how Germans are using the Web and social media.
This was going to be a big year for Europe: an end to roaming charges (no worries texting at the beach), net neutrality, and new rules on data protection. Well, looks like we can forget the first of those.
The US space agency has confirmed that its space probe Dawn is in orbit around the dwarf planet Ceres. Scientists are hoping it will provide more information on how planets are created.
The extent of illegal wildlife activity has reached epic proportions. It ranks among the top five largest transnational crimes in the world, and threatens species, communities and ultimately, global security.
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has ruled out supporting EU subsidies for nuclear energy projects. His comments came ahead of a meeting of energy ministers.