EU court: FB can be forced to re­move con­tent world­wide

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Adam Satar­i­ano

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.

Zucker­berg

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