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Facebook criticises ECJ ruling on taking down illegal content

Telegraph 03 Oct 2019 04:18

Facebook can be forced to remove hateful content worldwide by national courts in the European Union, EU judges ruled on Thursday.

The European Court of Justice ruling means that social media platforms must delete illegal posts rather than wait for requests to remove content as it currently does under EU rules. 

Judges at the Luxembourg-based court said Facebook could be ordered to take down content globally, even in countries where it is not illegal. The ruling is limited to court orders and not to wider complaints that content is illegal. 

“EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide,” the Court said in a statement. 

Facebook criticised the decision and claimed it was not their job to monitor and remove speech that may break the law in any given country. 

“It undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country,” Facebook said. 

“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." 

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European Court of JusticeEuropean UnionLuxembourg-based courtFacebookMaria Windhager