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International

EU’s top court backs global removal of illegal content on Facebook

22:45, Friday, 04 October, 2019
EU’s top court backs global removal of illegal content on Facebook

Europe’s top court has ruled that individual countries can force Facebook to take down illegal content, including hate speech, both inside the EU and across the world.The European Court of Justice made the decision after a Green party politician in Austria sued Facebook, demanding that the social network remove a set of defamatory comments about her, and any “equivalent” messages posted by others, globally.The ECJ said there was nothing in EU law to stop national courts from asking Facebook to search and delete duplicate posts of illegal content and that such take-downs should apply worldwide. The ruling will compel Facebook to proactively search for duplicate posts, as long as the material is already subject to a removal order and “identical” or “equivalent” to the original post.Users who have been defamed, or subject to hate speech, have previously complained that similar harmful material can be repeatedly posted to avoid the original removal order.

Users who have been defamed, or subject to hate speech, have previously complained that similar harmful material can be repeatedly posted to avoid the original removal order.The Facebook spokesperson said that national courts would now have to clearly define what “identical” and “equivalent” posts look like in practice and said: “We hope the courts take a proportionate and measured approach, to avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

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