A European Union court has ruled that Facebook can be ordered to take down “illegal comments” on a worldwide level. The European Union court in Austria came to this decision yesterday over the case of Eva Glawisching Piesczek. The ruling essentially means that so-called illegal comments in the European Union can be removed even outside the EU’s jurisdiction.
Glawisching Piesczek, former head of the Austrian Green Party, had apparently been a target of hate speech on Facebook. Glawisching Piesczek took Facebook to court to have the illegal comments taken down and her legal team fought for a worldwide removal.
Back in 2016, the Greens and Glawischnig filed a lawsuit against the social media platform resulting in a temporary injunction requiring Facebook to ensure that the insulting post written about Glawischnig was blocked across the globe. The post referred to the former parliamentary floor leader for the Greens, who resigned as party head in May 2017, as a “corrupt oaf” and “wretched traitor to her people.”DerStandard
This is a pretty significant ruling and could spark some worldwide debate. As is expected, the laws in the European Union are not the same as the laws in other countries. So what are considered illegal comments in the EU may not be considered illegal comments in the UK or in the US.
“EU law dos not preclude a host provider like Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal,” the European Court of Justice said in a statement.
“In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.”Reuters
This one is certainly going to be interesting to watch, Facebook will likely appeal the ruling and if it loses who knows where we go from there.
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