Facebook can be ordered to seek and identify all defamatory comments identical to one found illegal worldwide if originating from the same user

4 Jun 2019

Court of Justice of the EU published an opinion of Advocate General Szpunar, according to which Facebook can be ordered to seek and identify all comments identical to a defamatory comment that has been found to be illegal, and equivalent comments in so far as the latter originate from the same user. Court of Justice here interpreted the Directive on electronic commerce, according to which a host provider (operator of a social network platform) is, in principle, not liable for the information stored on its servers by third parties, if it is not aware of the illegal nature of that information. Once made aware of its illegality, the host provider must delete that information or block access to it. Advocate General Szpunar in stated in the opinion that this regulation does not preclude ordering a social network provider to seek and identify, among all the information disseminated by users of that platform, the information identical to the information that has been characterised as illegal by a court or its equivalent worldwide.

According to the Advocate General, that approach ensures a fair balance between the fundamental rights involved, namely the protection of private life and personality rights, the protection of freedom to conduct a business, and the protection of freedom of expression and information.

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Jurisdiction is the authority of the court and state organs to decide on legal cases. The relationship between jurisdiction and the Internet has been ambiguous, since jurisdiction rests predominantly on the geographical division of the globe into national territories. Each state has the sovereign right to exercise jurisdiction over its territory.

E-commerce has been one of the main engines promoting the growth of the Internet over the past 15 years.


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