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ECJ to rule on whether Facebook needs to hunt for hate speech

ECJ to rule on whether Facebook needs to hunt for hate speech
From TechCrunch - January 11, 2018

Austrias Supreme Court is referring a legal challenge over the extent of Facebooks responsibility to remove hate speech postings to Europes top court for an opinion (via derStandard.at). The case has clear implications for freedom of speech online.

The original lawsuit against Facebook was filed by the former leader of the Austrian Green Party,Eva Glawischnig, in 2016, after she had sought to have what she claimed were defamatory postings removed from the site (and Facebook had refused to take them down).

Last May an Austrian appeals court found in her favor, ruling that Facebook must remove the hate speech postingsboth the original posts and any verbatim repostings of the same commentsand also must do so worldwide, not merely geoblocking access to them in Austria.

Austrias Supreme Court has now referred the latter question to Europes top court, the ECJ, for a legal opinion. Its also seeking a verdict on whether Facebook has a duty to seek out and remove similar (but not exactly verbatim) hate speech postings against a person who has been targeted with such commentswhich would significantly widen the responsibility being placed on the social network to police the speech of its users.

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