On Wednesday, Facebook has dealt with a major blow in the top court of the European Union (EU), which said that National Courts in Europe can order online platforms to worldwide remove defamatory content.
In a minutely watched judgment, the European Court of Justice has said that the EU Law “does not preclude” courts from ordering “the removal of information or to block access worldwide,” reads a statement.
The decision will be considered as a win for the EU regulators, who are eager to see US-based tech giants meet reinforce European standards over offensive content and hate speech.
Last week, the court has decided that Google wasn’t legally obliged to apply the strict “right to be forgotten” rules globally, in a win for the search giant.
The latest case was introduced to a court in Australia by Greens party politician, Eva Glawisching has urged for the removal of few posts that the judges found libel her and could be considered by users of the social networks across the globe.
A higher court in Australia has referred the case to the EU’s top court for an opinion and the judgment, which can’t be appealed, but will be used as a reference.
Besides the deletion of messages, the Greens had asked Facebook to offer information to regulate the identity of people in fictitious accounts, which often carried the poorest comments.
The original complaints concerned messages from one of these fake accounts, which as per the Greens had called Eva Glawischnig a “corrupted” person and which the social network declined to delete.
With the judgment, Facebook, and similar platforms such as Twitter, faces a greater problem to monitor their content and take down contents found to be offensive.
EU-wide is so far the online giants that also include Youtube, have agreed to voluntarily take down hateful content, including those linked to terrorism, within 24-hours.
However, the European Union is likely to propose tougher Europe-wide measures that could include fines, if social media sites fail to comply with orders.