Facebook may be ordered to patrol its platform across the world to remove offensive and defamatory posts by users in the European Union, the bloc’s highest court ruled in another landmark privacy decision.
European courts can force platforms such as the social-network giant to seek and destroy such content once they’ve been alerted, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a binding decision on Thursday. Courts can also order a worldwide removal as long as they take international law into account when they issue the edicts, the judges said.
Platforms from Facebook to Google’s YouTube won a nod of approval from the EU earlier this year for tackling hate speech posted online as part of a code of conduct signed with the commission in 2016. The companies vowed to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours, once made aware of it.
Despite the platforms’ efforts, EU officials have been mulling new bloc-wide rules, building on existing legislation in Germany, that could hit big tech firms with possible fines if they fail to remove illegal hate speech quickly enough.