Glawischnig-Piesczek – Is Facebook responsible for the content its users post?

This case concerns a legal battle between Austrian politician Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek and the social media giant, Facebook. After distasteful comments were made in Piesczek’s name on the social media website, she demanded Facebook remove the post which contained a photograph alongside injurious remarks made against her. Austrian laws appeared to hold the comments made as unlawful, with demands of removal. Facebook were not ready to surrender, leading to the release of an interim injunction. Unfortunately, this led to much dispute in courts about how the removal of the content would lead to general motoring obligation, an action deemed forbidden.

With Piesczek not satisfied, a further appeal to the Supreme Court was carried out with an increased amount of demands. This left the CJEU to decide if the derogatory content was indeed general motoring obligation. The decision of whether this would only affect Austria or countries across the world had to also be taken into consideration.

An issue which arose in the discussions was that of freedom of speech. Shouldn’t one be entitled portray their views as they please? Who holds responsibility for publishing the content and should Facebook have backed down sooner?

The comments about the Austrian politician appear slanderous, with the capability of negatively impacting the individuals’ reputation. However, in this technologically advanced era, most politicians tend to face negativity every single day. Whether all opposing and unlawful posts should be removed, and who should hold the responsibility for removal still remains unclear, however it is unlikely that a grand change will be in set in place promptly.

Written by Lora Krasteva who is a second year law student at Solent University

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