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EU legal expert: social media comments could be removed if defamatory

The Advocate General for the Court of Justice of the EU stated Tuesday that social media sites can “be ordered to seek and identify all comments identical to a defamatory comment that has been found to be illegal, and equivalent comments in so far as the latter originate from the same user.”

The case arose out of an application for “an injunction to be issued ordering Facebook to bring to an end the publication of a defamatory comment.”

In coming to this conclusion, the Advocate General relied on the Directive on electronic commerce. That directive states that a social media site is not liable for any illegal information that is shared on the site by its users if the site is unaware of its illegality. “However, once made aware of its illegality, the host provider must delete that information or block access to it.”

This opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice, and the “Judges of the Court are now beginning their deliberations in this case.”