Facebook Can Be Ordered To Remove Content With New EU Ruling

EU ruling can eliminate content from Facebook The top court in the European Union ruled this week that courts in individual countries can order Facebook to remove certain content....

(Photo Credit: VOA)

EU ruling can eliminate content from Facebook

The top court in the European Union ruled this week that courts in individual countries can order Facebook to remove certain content. The ruling sparked a debate over censorship and free speech on the Internet.

Laws around speech vary by country. For instance, in some countries, it is illegal to publish content damaging to a public figure’s reputation. But in countries like the United States, such speech is largely legal.

“EU law does not preclude a host provider like Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal,” the court said. “In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.”

Facebook opposes the ruling, saying it violates basic concepts of freedom of speech. It did not say whether it would abide by the ruling in certain EU countries. Facebook also said the ruling was too broad, and would require the company to constantly monitor content for illegality.

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

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