Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been sent to court over a photo of a Syrian refugee and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The high profile case has led to revelations that the company tries to evade and delay lawsuits.
The Wuerzburg case
Chan-jo Jun the lawyer of the 19 year old Anas Modamani is accusing Facebook in Wuerzburg for not stopping the use of a picture his client took with the Chancellor. The photo has circulated in numerous Facebook pages with claims that he is part of the terror attacks among other libelous comments. Modamani wants Facebook to block any future postings about his photo. Since early 2015, efforts to fight against hate speech have soared in Germany as the country welcomed over one million refugees.
Complaints against Facebook
Jun complained that Facebook neither responds to emails sent to Dublin, the European headquarters nor to its German lawyers. It took the attention of the media for Facebook to finally respond. This case is not unique only to Jun as other lawyers have accused Facebook of taking advantage of routine procedures to avoid court cases. One of the most common allegations among the lawyers against Facebook is what is referred to as service of process. The company’s European headquarters are based in Ireland and the German court has to send lawsuits there unless Facebook authorizes a Germany address.
Longer court process
After the Wuerzburg case flooded the media, Facebook sent two Hamburg based lawyers to court on its behalf. If at all the case had to rely on sending files to Ireland, the proceedings would have delayed for about one year. The Presiding Judge Volkmar Seipel lamented that until then, they had no assurance whether the attempts to have the case at Ireland arrived at their destination. The lawyers urged Facebook to make German lawsuits easier by having them dealt with in German.
Battle against hate speech
Facebook, Twitter, Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) made an agreement to pull down with immediate effect any post with hate speech message. The social media companies have failed to meet this deal. Tougher repercussions are being decided upon against those accused of hate speech. Facebook through its chief executive officer consented to failing to control hate speech.
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