EU court: FB can be forced to remove content worldwide
London: Europe’s top court said on Thursday that an individual country can order Facebook to take down posts, photographs and videos and restrict global access to that material, in a ruling that has implications for whether countries can expand content bans beyond their borders.
The European Court of Justice’s decision came after a former Austrian politician sought to have Facebook remove disparaging comments about her that had been posted on an individual’s personal page, as well as “equivalent” messages posted by others.
Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, a former leader of Austria’s Green Party, argued that Facebook needed to delete the material in the country and limit worldwide access.
The decision is a blow to big internet platforms like Facebook, placing more responsibility on them to patrol their sites for content ruled illegal.
The court’s decision highlights the difficulty of creating uniform standards to govern an inherently borderless web and th-en enforcing defamation, libel and privacy laws that varies from country to country.
The court said that while Facebook wasn’t initially responsible for the disparaging comments posted about Glawischnig-Piesczek, it had an obligation to take down the posts after acourt ruled them defamatory. Facebook, the court said, “did not act expeditiously to remove or to disable access to that information.”
Facebook argued the rules could be abused by individuals to censor unflattering, embarrassing or critical material. The court’s decision cannot be appealed.