Facebook blasted a ruling from the European Court of Justice, which found courts in European Union (EU) member states can force the company to remove content deemed illegal for users worldwide.
The decision comes after an Austrian politician sued Facebook in an attempt to have it take down a specific comment she said was defamatory and any others like it.
In its ruling, the court said EU law doesn’t prevent providers like Facebook from being ordered to remove comments identical or equivalent to those previously declared to be illegal. It added there is no law precluding such an injunction from “producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law”.
Facebook argued in a statement to Reuters the ruling “undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country.”
Thomas Hughes, executive director of UK-based advocacy group Article 19, agreed, warning the decision sets “a dangerous precedent where the courts of one country can control what internet users in another country can see”. He added such a policy is vulnerable to abuse, “particularly by regimes with weak human rights records.”
The ruling stands in contrast to another recent decision from the court, which found Google is not required to apply content removal requests from EU citizens to versions of search engine outside the bloc.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back