EU can order Facebook to remove ‘hate speech’ even if outside Europe

FILE - This July 16, 2013, file photo, shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

In a landmark ruling on Thursday, the European Court of Justice has given EU nations the power to order Facebook to remove posts containing hate speech, even if it does not fall within their jurisdiction.

Facebook must comply with EU demands to remove content considered illegal even when the material is outside of the Europe. This decision by the bloc’s top court is expected to undermine freedom of speech over the internet.

According to the Luxembourg-based court, any individual country that is part of the EU bloc can ask Facebook to remove photographs, videos, and posts and even restrict access to certain material to people on the world’s stage.

Facebook over an earlier non-binding opinion from an ECJ adviser in June argued that it “undermines the longstanding principle that one country should not have the right to limit free expression in other countries.”

This is considered the second major ECJ ruling in a matter of few months that concerns the freedom of speech and expression on the internet. Earlier in September, the court ruled that Google did not have to apply the EU’s “right to be forgotten” law on a global scale.


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