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.
Diaries written by the famed German explorer Alexander von Humboldt as he toured central and southern America 200 years ago are to be sold by his descendants. Germany's Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation is the buyer.
A German team has developed a way to give LEDs, which shed bluish or cold light, a warm tone. It could revolutionize highly efficient LEDs - and it's gained them a science prize nomination.
In light of Greece's economic crisis, a group of city-dwellers has built a self-sufficient eco-community. As many people struggle with growing food security problems, the group produces its own food and electricity.
Storm Xaver has reached northern Europe, threatening the biggest tidal surge in decades and hammering Germany's North Sea coastline. Xaver had already battered northern Britain and killed three people.