Europe’s top court has set a new line for the policing of illegal speech online. The ruling has implications for how speech is regulated on online platforms — and is likely to feed into wider planned reform of regional rules governing platforms’ liabilities.
Per the CJEU decision, platforms such as Facebook can be instructed to hunt for and remove illegal speech worldwide — including speech that’s “equivalent” to content already judged illegal.
Although any such takedowns remain within the framework of “relevant international law”.
So in practice it does not that mean a court order issued in one EU country will get universally applied in all jurisdictions as there’s no international agreement on what constitutes unlawful speech or even more narrowly defamatory speech.
Existing EU rules on the free flow of information on ecommerce platforms — aka the eCommerce Directive — which state that Member States cannot force a “general content monitoring obligation” on intermediaries, do not preclude courts from ordering platforms to remove or block illegal speech, the court has decided.
That decision worries free speech advocates who are concerned it could open the door to general monitoring obligations being placed on tech platforms in the region, with the risk of a …read more
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