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EU Court Rules that Facebook Must Remove Content Worldwide


Europe’s top court ruled this week that Facebook can be ordered by police to remove content "illegal" in Europe from its network.

Reuters reports that the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) made a landmark ruling recently which states that Facebook can be ordered by police to remove content illegal in the E.U. from its platform worldwide. The judgment comes one week after the same court ruled that Google does not have to apply its “right to be forgotten” law globally, receiving praise from free-speech advocates for the decision.

The Court said in a statement: “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. In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.”

Facebook stated that it was not the role of social media firms to determine what content posted to its platform may be illegal in certain countries. The firm said in a statement: 

It undermines the long-standing 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.

In order to get this right national courts will have to set out very clear definitions on what ‘identical’ and ‘equivalent’ means in practice. We hope the courts take a proportionate and measured approach, to avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

As much as we dislike Zuckerburg and his PC regime, on this particular matter, let's hope he tells them to sod off and mind their own business.