Munich Higher Regional court: Facebook may not remove comments at your discretion

The social network must respect freedom of expression when deleting contributions. The Munich Higher Regional Court thus gave a right to a AfD politician.

Munich Higher Regional court: Facebook may not remove comments at your discretion

Facebook is bound in its handling of comments to same degree of freedom of expression as State bodies. This was decided by Munich Higher Regional court already about a week ago (file No. 18 W 1294/18) and issued a restraining order. It is refore not permissible for network to have a stricter framework for admissibility of statements than State.

The reason for trial was a commentary by AfD politician Heike Themel, whom Facebook had deleted with reference to its own community standards. Because of a report on border controls in Austria, Themel had a strong debate with some users of platform. She was offended. She had subsequently written to a user who had supported this utterance with a "like", among or things: "I cannot measure myself argumentative with you. They are unarmed and that would not be very fair of me. "

With deletion of this post, Facebook has violated its contractual obligation, Court decided. The social network is obliged to take account of rights of all users, in particular fundamental right to freedom of expression. If Facebook "based on a ' virtual house ' (...) Should delete contribution of a user (...) Even if contribution does not exceed limits of permissible freedom of expression, this procedure would not be compatible with German Basic Law.

Illegal disadvantage

In its terms and conditions, Facebook reserves right to delete comments, "If we believe y violate statement or our policies". In judgement of judges, this provision disadvantages users in an improper manner. Finally, deletion of comments is thus ultimately put into free will of company.

The lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel, who represented AfD politician in lawsuit, was satisfied with decision of court. He described injunction as a "milestone in fight for freedom of expression in social media".

A spokeswoman from Facebook stated that order is not available to group at moment: "As soon as we receive it, we will examine it." Facebook is a platform on which people worldwide, across borders, can exchange and share content that is important to m. However, this must not be done at expense of safety and well-being of ors.

Date Of Update: 08 September 2018, 12:00

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