The impressum may be a largely unfamiliar concept in North America, but it’s a legal requirement for businesses that operate in German-speaking countries. Many website owners around the world must disclose their identities and contact information in an impressum.
Read on to find out what an impressum is, whether or not you need one, and how to create an impressum for Facebook.
What Is an Impressum?
An impressum is a statement of ownership and authorship of content, which is legally required to be put on published online and print media in German-speaking countries. For businesses with an online presence, an impressum means disclosing the contact information of the website or business owner, as well as basic information about the company.
“Impressum” is an adopted German word with Latin origins, meaning “to impress or to engrave.” The closest English equivalents to “impressum” are:
- “legal notice”
- “about us page”
Do I Need an Impressum?
According to the German Telemedia Act, you need an impressum if you operate a commercial website (including business social media pages) in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, regardless of whether you have a .de domain or not.
Keep in mind that an impressum is not required for private pages, such as a personal blog that doesn’t generate income.
What Should I Write in an Impressum?
According to the Telemedia Act, you should include the following in an impressum:
- Name of the owner or manager of your business/page
- Registered business address
- Contact information (e.g., phone number, email address)
- Business registration information (including register name and registration number)
- VAT ID number or trade registry number if applicable
Impressum & Facebook
Many businesses have their own websites as well as social media pages. Facebook added a feature that allows users to create their own impressum on a public page so that businesses in German-speaking countries can easily comply with the law.
What Is an Impressum on Facebook?
An impressum on Facebook is a section on the “About” page that displays a business’s contact information and legal identification numbers. Facebook allows users to input up to 2,000 characters for their impressum, after which the text is shortened, and a link to the complete impressum is added.
Facebook’s Pages, Groups, and Event Policies require page administrators to obey all applicable laws and regulations. This means if you’re subject to the Telemedia Act, Facebook requires you to include an impressum on your page.
Impressum Facebook Examples
There are different ways to write and present an impressum for your Facebook page. The following Facebook impressum examples vary in wording and formatting, while still meeting the requirements for an impressum.
Audi’s Facebook About page features their impressum, which includes the names of board members, contact information, business register name and number, and VAT ID. They provide additional contact information and resources for users who want to find out more about their fuel consumption data.
An impressum can contain additional information about your business, as long as you’ve included the required elements. As seen in the example, Audi’s impressum places a dispute resolution disclaimer between the business’s VAT ID and mailing address.
Birkenstock’s Facebook About Page features their business description and impressum. Although they have a relatively short impressum, they provide the required business and contact information.
You can vary the length of your impressum and the order of information as long as the required information is presented.
Impressum are also referred to as “imprint” or “ credits” on websites, as seen in the example. Consider linking your Facebook impressum to your website’s full imprint or impressum page for your users’ convenience.
How to Add an Impressum on Your Facebook Page
Here’s how to add an impressum to your Facebook page:
- Click Pages in the left menu of your News Feed.
- Go to your Page and click Edit Page Info.
- Scroll down to the More section and enter your business information in the Impressum field.
- Click Save Changes.
Impressum on websites also come in different styles for different businesses. Check out the impressum samples below to get ideas of how to format your impressum.
Swarovski — Online Shop Impressum
Swarovski’s imprint has all the required elements of an impressum, including business and contact information for their Switzerland office. They also provide contact information for their US office for US users.
It’s a good practice for multinational companies with English websites to post their impressum if they also operate in German-speaking countries.
Even though English-speaking countries don’t require an impressum, Swarovski includes an impressum on their international English website, because they also operate in Switzerland, as seen in the example.
ABB Group — Website Impressum
Engineering firm ABB’s impressum specifies that their website is owned by the ABB company, and provides company details including the CEO’s name, business address, contact information, and business registration information.
Follow this example by identifying who manages or owns your website. If your website is maintained by a third-party organization, include their contact information as well.
7132 Silver Restaurant — Disclaimer Impressum
7132 Silver Restaurant’s impressum and disclaimer page features liability and privacy disclaimers in addition to their impressum. They also provide information about the third-party organization that developed their website.
Like in the example, you can choose to include your impressum in your disclaimer, or simply provide a link to the impressum page if it’s too long.
Now that we’ve walked through what an impressum is and how to create one, let’s revisit what you need to know about impressum:
- An impressum is a statement of ownership and authorship.
- An impressum helps combat spam and disinformation by holding creators responsible for their content.
- An impressum is legally required for commercial sites operating in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- A standard impressum text includes names of the business/website owner, business contact information, and any government-issued identification or registration numbers.
Before creating your impressum, consult other impressum resources or review the Telemedia Act for detailed descriptions of the requirements.
When writing your impressum, you can draw inspiration from impressum examples.
Finally, display your impressum in conspicuous places on your website or Facebook page to comply with German laws.