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BGH decision: Facebook was not allowed to block two accounts for hate speech

2021-07-29T11:35:44.814Z

The Federal Court of Justice allows Facebook to delete posts that violate the house rules and to block their authors. However, the court gives the group precise guidelines for such sanctions.



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Facebook app on a tablet: "They will never integrate here"

Photo: Uli Deck / DPA

Not all statements that Facebook forbids in its »Community Standards« are punishable under German law. How far can Facebook go in the fight against hate comments without unlawfully restricting freedom of expression? The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe dealt with this question on Thursday. Specifically, it is about two users who complained because Facebook had blocked their accounts for 30 and three days respectively. They had previously published comments directed against migrants. Facebook had deleted the comments.

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has now declared that the company may in principle continue to delete posts and block users in the event of violations of its own platform rules in Germany (Az. III ZR 179/20 et al.). In future, however, those affected will have to be informed of an impending lockdown and must be given the opportunity to explain themselves. You have to be informed about the removal of a contribution at least afterwards.

Specifically, the proceedings are about two different Facebook posts, which were negotiated together in Karlsruhe.

In one contribution, the plaintiff wrote that she could not remember any assassination attempt that was carried out by citizens of the Reich.

And further: “German people are criminalized because they have a different view of their home country than the regime.

Migrants can murder and rape here and nobody cares! "The other case was about a contribution in which the plaintiff, referring to migrants:" They will never integrate here.

[…] These gold pieces can only kill one person, […] steal […] and riot. "

BGH declares the terms of use to be partially ineffective

Facebook must now reactivate the posts in question and not remove them again. The accounts of the plaintiff may not be blocked again because of these contributions. Because at the time of deletion in 2018, no information was provided for users. The BGH therefore declared the terms of use at the time to be ineffective on this point.

Facebook determines in its "community standards" what is and what is not allowed on its own platform. Hate speech directed against refugees across the board has not been allowed under the rules for several years, for example. "We protect refugees, migrants, immigrants and asylum seekers from the most severe attacks, but allow comments and criticism of immigration policy," says Facebook's house rules on hate speech. You don't want people to be attacked for who they are.

The two plaintiffs had argued among other things with freedom of expression.

In the first case, the plaintiff failed both in the first instance before the Regional Court of Nuremberg-Fürth and in the appeal before the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Nuremberg (file number III ZR 179/29).

In the second case, the plaintiff was partially successful before the Regional Court of Regensburg, but the Higher Regional Court Nuremberg also dismissed his complaint in the appeal (Az. III ZR 192/20).

hpp / pbe / afp / dpa

Source: spiegel

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