On Thursday morning the European Court of Justice ruled that individual countries can order Facebook to remove content in the form of posts, photographs and videos, as well as restrict global access to the removed content.
The case has been closely followed over the implications it may have on whether countries can expand content bans beyond their shores.
A former Austrian politician, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, had requested that Facebook remove disparaging comments about her that were posted on an individual’s personal Facebook page, resulting in the case being brought before the European Court of Justice. Ms Glawischnig-Piesczek, former leader of Austria’s Green Party, argued that Facebook needed to delete the material in the country as well as limit worldwide access to the deleted content.
Big internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have therefor been given more responsibility to patrol their sites and take down content that has been ruled to be illegal.
The ruling is set to complicate matters in view of differing countries having different libel, defamation and internet usage laws despite the internet’s inherent borderless nature.