Facebook ordered to remove hate speech across its platform by Austrian court

FacebookA court in Austria has ruled that Facebook must delete any posts that are deemed hate speech – a ruling that affects the world, not just the Central European nation.

The case was brought to the court by Austria’s Green party over insults aimed at its leader, Eva Glawischnig, from a fake account. The victory forces Facebook to remove postings across its entire platform and not just in Austria. The Viennese appeals court strengthened the earlier ruling by deeming that Facebook must also remove any verbatim reposts, also stating that blocking posts in Austria but not for users abroad was ‘not sufficient’, Reuters reports.

The Green party hope to further strengthen the ruling at Austria’s Supreme Court – asking that the court make Facebook remove similar, not only identical, posts, as well as making the social network identify the holders of fake accounts.

Additionally, the party is seeking damages from Facebook, which would set precedent for others to seek financial compensation from the social network. Facebook is yet to comment on the ruling and potential further losses.

In the UK, MPs in the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee recently said that they think social media companies should face repercussions for their failures to remove extremist content. In a report, MPs dubbed social media companies as ‘shameful’ and accused them of putting profit ahead of safety, for which they should be fined.