Facebook can be ordered to police and remove illegal content worldwide, Europe’s top court said on Thursday, in a landmark ruling that rights advocates say could allow authoritarian regimes to silence critics.
The ruling came just a week after the same court told Google that it does not have to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law globally, garnering praise from freedom of speech advocates as courts try and figure out just how much responsibility for content platforms should have.
The judgment by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said Facebook may have to comply with requests to take down content globally under certain conditions.
“EU law does not preclude a host provider like Facebook from being ordered to remove identical and, in certain circumstances, equivalent comments previously declared to be illegal,” the Court said in a statement.
“In addition, EU law does not preclude such an injunction from producing effects worldwide, within the framework of the relevant international law.”
Facebook slammed the ruling, saying that it was not the role of social platforms to monitor, interpret and remove speech that may be illegal in any particular country.