The European Union court recently ruled against facebook, forcing it to globally delete illegal content form individual posts just a week after the court ruled that Google does not have to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law globally, garnering praise from freedom of speech advocates.
The landmark ruling by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) followed a suit by one Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, the chairwoman of the Greens parliamentary group in Austria, that sued Facebook for what she termed an undermining comment and that she needed deleted and all identical claims removed.
The court found the comments as affecting to her reputation, ordering for a delete. It further noted that Facebook has to comply with requests to take down content globally under certain conditions.
“EU law does 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 Court said in a statement. Adding; “In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.”
Facebook however slammed the ruling, saying that it was not the role of social platforms to monitor, interpret and remove speech that may be illegal in any particular country.
“It undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country. It also opens the door to obligations being imposed on internet companies to proactively monitor content and then interpret if it is ‘equivalent’ to content that has been found to be illegal,” Facebook said.
Facebook got the backing of a UK rights group Article 19 backed Facebook, that thought the ruling could impact online freedom of expression worldwide.
“Compelling social media platforms like Facebook to automatically remove posts regardless of their context will infringe our right to free speech and restrict the information we see online,” said Thomas Hughes, the Executive Director of the Group.
Thomas further said that it could lead to cases where a court in one country demands the removal of social media posts in another country even if they n are not illegal in the said country.
But as Facebook continues to become a hub of criticism all around the world on privacy concerns and illegal comments, the hint is lou; illegal content is dangerous not only in terms of destroying reputation but also in aiding mental stress and other psychological issues.
The ruling of the EU is not only going to hit Facebook but all other the tech companies as monitoring and handling online speech has been a concern for everyone. To this end, controlling illegal content on social media is an expressing necessity.
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