The European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that member states can force Facebook to remove or block unlawful material worldwide, in a case that raises new questions over the responsibilities of tech giants.
The European Court of Justice ruling is seen as a defeat for Facebook and similar online platforms, as it would increase the onus on them to monitor what appears on the internet.
Internet companies would only be forced to take action worldwide when ordered to do so by a court in EU states - and not by governments, for example. That means any requests would have to go through a longer procedure than a simple complaint to a regulator.
“EU law does not preclude a host provider such as Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal,” the court said. “In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within More