Comments:European Court of Justice says Facebook must remove 'illegal' posts globally
|Thread title||Replies||Last modified|
|Freedom of speech in the European Union||4||03:04, 7 October 2019|
I found this to be extremely troubling. In the US, even if Glawischnig-Piesczek was a private citizen, this would have been laughed out of court as mere insults. As a public person, it is doubly preposterous. She likely would have been forced to pay Facebook's legal costs per anti-SLAPP legislation in most states.
I am less concerned with the alarmists who say this paves the way for authoritarian states to censor the wider internet. Singapore, if I recall correctly, recently made a law which allows the government to decide what is and isn't fake news. I doubt hosts such as Facebook would heed Singapore and remove things globally, though local removal is disturbing enough.
Nevertheless, I see this as detrimental to free speech.
I wondered, at first, about the reference in the final bullet to relevant international law. If Ireland ruled that the comments were protected free speech, what would that do to the situation? Possibly nothing, because that's national law rather than international law; but then, there's the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which ought to qualify.
What this actually means is going to depend critically on what the various institutions do with it, going forward.
The UDHR has provisions on "freedom of thought, opinion, religion and conscience, word, and peaceful association of the individual", but there's never been much 'muscle' behind it. I don't even think it qualifies as 'law'. I am certain ECJ is saying Ireland's laws are irrelevant. Back in the day, defamation was separated into slander and libel. One was spoken, the other in print. Nowadays, people 'speak' on the internet, but courts seem to be interpreting it as 'print' which used to mean it was in a newspaper. Yes, it would probably be 'wrong' of a newspaper to say those things about EGP and her party, but I damn sure believe in the right of anyone to insult her (and I don't know a damn thing about her politics).
It probably doesn't help that the insults included 'fascist'. My experience suggests folks in western Europe get quite upset by that term, and likely in Austria the effect is especially pronounced.