October 3, 2019

"Europe's highest court ruled Thursday that Facebook could be ordered to track down and remove content globally if it was found to be illegal in one EU country...."

"In its ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said that EU law allowed local judges to order the world’s largest social network to remove illegal content, as well as delete material that conveyed a similar message under certain circumstances.... The decision was a blow for Facebook, which had claimed that such a step would harm freedom of expression, and that one country or region should not be able to export its laws worldwide. 'This judgement raises critical questions around freedom of expression and the role that internet companies should play in monitoring, interpreting and removing speech,' Toby Partlett, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement. 'We hope the courts take a proportionate and measured approach to avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.'... The Luxembourg-based judges said their ruling would not force companies to actively monitor all material that was posted on their platforms... Instead, any monitoring of potentially harmful material should be linked to existing rulings from courts and be limited to specific cases of harmful material like social media posts that defamed individuals. Those restrictions, the court said, would ensure people’s freedom of expression was not hampered by the widespread monitoring of their online activities."

Politico reports.

45 comments:

rhhardin said...

It's solved with a facebook brexit.

Ken B said...

Tell me again why Brexit is a bad idea?

CWJ said...

And here we worry about one district judge imposing his ruling on the entire nation.

I wonder how many of the Facebook individuals involved in this case otherwise approve of judge shopping in this country in order to obtain nationwide injunctions.

gilbar said...

so, is this kinda like a judge in Hawaii deciding law, for the whole nation??
Am i violating EU law just asking this?
Guess, more importantly; am i violating Hawaii law just asking this?

Sebastian said...

I have no love for Facebook and Mark Z., but --America innovates, Europe regulates.

MountainMan said...

“... and that one country or region should not be able to export its laws worldwide.”

The US does this with its tax laws for US expats living in foreign countries, the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act. I understand the IRS will levy penalties on foreign financial services, as well as ex-pat citizens, who fail to comply.

tim maguire said...

the court said, would ensure people’s freedom of expression was not hampered by the widespread monitoring of their online activities."

hmm...

rcocean said...

So EU judges now rule the internet. Cool. They can't be any worse than Zuckerprick.

Narr said...

"Europe's highest court" is a phrase that ought to cause every liberty-loving individual a severe case of agita'.

Narr
Luxemburg's a nice little place

MikeR said...

Wow. In case you wondered who rules the world.
I'm easy, really, I hate both sides.
These kinds of cases are fascinating. What if the EU, or China, decides that Facebook owes them a hundred billion dollars?
Wait: or the US! Here's how we finance Bernie Sanders' plans and the GND and everything! Win-win.

minnesota farm guy said...

Much as I think social media are a bane on human interaction I will happily tell the EU to go to hell if they try to impose world wide censorship. Easy to see why the Brits want out.

wildswan said...

In England the truth is not a protection against the libel laws. In fact, "the greater the truth, the greater the libel." But in England they were not enforcing those laws because the facts could just be published in another country on the internet and thus parachute in to England. Now?

stevew said...

Hmmm, first impression from reading that excerpt is that this ruling provides and incentive not to monitor any content posted.

henry said...

and I thought laws stopped at borders.

bwebster said...

As far as I can tell, Europe (both the EU and the UK) don't believe in free speech, period. Speech is always constrained by whatever someone deems to be the greater good at any moment.

Of course, the American Left has -- in the space of a decade or less -- pretty much adopted the same attitude. I remember when the Democratic Party was the party of free speech. Of course, I also remember when I used to be a registered Democrat myself. Both were over a decade ago.

henry said...

As a bonus, California's Data Privacy law is slightly different but just as bad. Coming Jan 1.

chuck said...

Time to set up Radio Free Europe.

Wince said...

Europe's highest court ruled Thursday that Facebook could be ordered to track down and remove content globally if it was found to be illegal in one EU country....

From judicial tyranny to Great Thunberg... it's worldwide Californication.

Psychic spies from China try to steal your mind's elation
And little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation
And if you want these kind of dreams it's Californication

It's the edge of the world and all of western civilization
The sun may rise in the East at least it's settled in a final location
It's understood that Hollywood sells Californication

Mark Jones said...

I'm hardly a big fan of Facebook, but this ruling is bullshit. No nation has the right to demand that people obey their laws in other jurisdictions. Those other jurisdictions are sovereign as well, and get to make their own rules.

Jason said...

Scratch a liberal, you’ll find a fascist. Every time.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Was this ruling a “blow” for Facebook? I would imagine that it is technologically easier to block content worldwide than on a country by country basis.

doctrev said...

Even China doesn't have the arrogance to demand that corporations remove all references to "sensitive issues" outside China. Although our evil technology overlords will happily obey tyrants and persecute patriots.

The new American nation needs to put strict controls on these people.

JAORE said...

Freedom of speech (yes I know it legally applies only to governmental actions) is baked into the American psyche. While I see that being assaulted by the left, many still believe in FOS.

In Europe and Canada the FOS protections are thin reeds indeed. Perhaps FB should be more aware that supporting FOS HERE is in their best interest too.

John Borell said...

I don't swear often, but when I do, I mean it.

Europe's highest court can get fucked.

eric said...

There seems to be 3 positions here.

The left position which is pretty much Facebook's position usually. And that is, objectionable material needs to be silenced on the platform.

The never Trump position which is, Facebook is a company that should be free to do whatever the hell it wants.

And the Trump supporter position which is, Facebook and other companies like it should be forced by governments to allow more speech, even offensive speech.

Nonapod said...

The Luxembourg-based judges said their ruling would not force companies to actively monitor all material that was posted on their platforms... Instead, any monitoring of potentially harmful material should be linked to existing rulings from courts and be limited to specific cases of harmful material like social media posts that defamed individuals.

Look, I'm usually the last person to defend Facebook but...

How do they imagine a company is supposed to determine whether a given video meets such thresholds without "actively monitoring" everything that's uploaded? Whoever wrote this seems incapable of basic reasoning.

n.n said...

Facebook thought they could censor and steer with selective, opportunistic policies. Hopefully, this is a step toward something internally, externally, and mutually consistent.

daskol said...

On the one hand, fuck Facebook. On the other, the EU is out of control. If the rest of the world legitimately griped about the US Treasury exporting our foreign policy by forcing banks around the world to isolate specified people, firms and countries from the global financial system, at least we were really specific about the list of sanctioned people and entities. This GDPR and other regulatory creep impinging on speech-related activities such as data collection, publishing and otherwise engaging in the information economy are maddeningly broad and vague. It's a boon for compliance professionals, but a real nightmare for the rest.

Owen said...

Heckler’s veto writ as large as large can be. Somebody somewhere says something you don’t like, just tell the platform that you’re sad and away it goes.

The Drill SGT said...

Lest somebody say something bad about our rulers in China?

bagoh20 said...

Facexit, as I did years ago. Facebook, just like, Google, Youtube, and Twitter are all such dickhead companies that I really can't defend them even when I might want to. Live by authoritarianism - die by it.

Owen said...

The ultimate heckler's veto. If somebody anywhere in the world says something you don't like, just tell the platform that you're sad and poof, it's gone.

The only prerequisite is that your sadness is reflective of what any EU country thinks is, or might think might be, hateful. Which IMHO is pretty much anything interesting and useful in social and political discourse, and even in "science 'n' stuff" such as Global Warming, vaccinations, and the like.

Fernandistein said...

to remove illegal content, as well as delete material that conveyed a similar message under certain circumstances.

So they want to remove "illegal" content as well legal content.

That follows widespread criticism that Facebook, Google and Twitter have allowed hateful, terrorist and false information to spread widely across their global networks.

I guess nytimes.com should delete most of their website, but perhaps their hateful and false information isn't spread very widely across global networks.

"hateful" and "false" information = information they don't like, but what does terrorist information mean? Same old same old?

Curious George said...

"Europe's highest court...."

Therein lies the problem.

mockturtle said...

Brexit, Frexit, Grexit, Czechxit, etc. Let the exodus begin.

JCA1 said...

So a Euro judge grants himself jurisdiction over the entire world? This must be that white privilege I keep hearing about.

Yancey Ward said...

Well, Facebook can just Eurexit. It is internet based anyway, so I would just simply keep assets out of the EU and ignore the ruling outside the jurisdiction of any particular case. It would Andrew Jackson the EU court.

rehajm said...

What bagoh20 said. I better hide my schadenboner before the EU decides to regulate it...

JAORE said...

"No nation has the right to demand that people obey their laws in other jurisdictions. Those other jurisdictions are sovereign as well, and get to make their own rules."

Careful,lest you be branded a states rights kind of guy.

While I tend to agree with you, the EU is a strange mix of government and bureaucracy. I suppose it also is dependent on what the EU signatories gave up in sovereignty when they joined up. I suspect it was more than they originally believed.

But there are a LOT of quasi governmental issues our there. Who should reign supreme?

UN resolutions?
WTO findings?
Sanctuary states/cities/counties?

Owen said...

I guess we should also bear in mind the hidden agenda for the EU court ruling as it did. Which is to milk FB and other platforms of fat fines for failing to police every syllable ever posted anywhere. Which slow and piecemeal milking will effectively defeat the protection ostensibly given them under laws like the Communications Decency Act.

gerry said...

Time to set up Radio Free Europe.

Or Radio Free California.

Steven said...

Fundamentally, the problem is that Facebook is choosing to do business in the European Union, which gives the European Union the leverage to export its censorship laws to the United States. That is a fundamental threat to American free speech; that businesses subject to network effects will import foreign censorship laws into America.

Which is why we should have already amended Section 230 protection such that a company has one of three choices:

A) Refrain from censoring on the version of your platform available in the US any user content that is legal under US law, no matter how objectionable.
B) Accept liability as a publisher for all content published by your platform in the US.
C) Operate your business exclusively in the United States.

narciso said...

btw a deaf muslim convert stabbed four people in paris today.

Kevin said...

Those Europeans really like their globalism.

Wait until the Chinese start dictating the terms.

Kevin said...

Soon the EU's highest court will rule that if the American President is removed from office in any country, he must be removed in all countries.