An esteemed advisor to the top European court has suggested that social media sites such as Facebook may need to detect and remove posts that can be interpreted as illegal content according to the EU court. Although, it shouldn’t be a requisite for these sites to uncover and delete slanderous posts by just any user, as such actions would breach the elementary right of free speech.
“An obligation to identify equivalent information originating from any user would not ensure a fair balance between the fundamental rights concerned. On the one hand, seeking and identifying such information would require costly solutions. On the other hand, the implementation of those solutions would lead to censorship, so that freedom of expression and information might well be systematically restricted.” said the Court of Justice of the European Union last year.
The current EU law indicates that it shouldn’t be compulsory for social platforms to oversee the data they store, or even dictate the removal of content “equivalent to the information characterised as illegal” when they have been alerted of such activity. Also, it does not deem it necessary that such posts should be eliminated globally.
A Facebook representative said, “This case raises important questions about freedom of expression online and about the role that internet platforms should play in locating and removing speech, particularly when it comes to political discussions and criticizing elected officials. We remove content that breaks the law and our priority is always to keep people on Facebook safe. However, this opinion undermines the long-standing principle that one country should not have the right to limit free expression in other countries. We hope the CJEU will clarify that, even in the age of the internet, the scope of court orders from one country must be limited to its borders.”