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Facebook Raises Questions Over EU Ruling on Removing Content

In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a "very troubling precedent"

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FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Facebook has raised objections over the European Union (EU) ruling that the bloc’s member countries can not only order the removal of content in their own jurisdiction, but all over the world.

According to the social networking giant, the ruling opens the door for courts to order the removal of content that is similar to the illegal speech, “meaning that something you posted might be removed even if you knew nothing about the earlier post that a European country had deemed illegal”.

“Imagine something you wrote and shared on Facebook was taken down, not because it violated our rules, and not because it broke the law in your country, but because someone was able to use different laws in another country to have it removed,” Monika Bickert, VP, Global Policy Management at Facebook, said in a statement on Monday.

“Imagine as well that your speech was deemed illegal not by a judge who carefully weighed the facts, but by automated tools and technology,” she added.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook can be forced to remove content internationally.

The ruling arose from a personal defamation case brought by an Austrian politician.

The post in question shared a news article in which the Austrian politician had outlined her and her party’s views on immigration, together with a comment from a Facebook user strongly critiquing the Austrian politician.

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An iPhone displays the app for Facebook in New Orleans, Aug. 11, 2019. VOA

The court’s ruling raises critical questions for freedom of expression, in two key respects, said Bickert.

First, it undermines the long-standing principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on another country.

“This is especially important with laws governing speech, because what is legally acceptable varies considerably in different parts of the world and even within the EU. The ruling also opens the door for other countries around the world, including non-democratic countries who severely limit speech, to demand the same power,” said Facebook.

Second, the ruling might lead to a situation in which private internet companies could be forced to rely on automated technologies to police and remove “equivalent” illegal speech.

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In a public Q&A, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said that the ruling sets a “very troubling precedent”.

“We have had precedents but we have successfully fought them. This is one where a lot of the details of exactly how this gets implemented are going to depend on national courts across Europe, and what they define as the same content versus roughly equivalent content.

“This is something we and other services will be litigating and getting clarity on what this means. I know we talk about free expression as a value and I thought this was a fairly troubling development,” Zuckerberg added. (IANS)

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Facebook, Sony Pulls Out Of Games Developer Conference Due To Coronavirus Concerns

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry's biggest event -- MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak

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Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back. Pixabay

 Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

Just one day after announcing it wouldn’t be attending PAX East, Sony confirmed that it also won’t be attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this March in San Francisco also due to coronavirus concerns, Android Central reported on Thursday.

It is pertinent to note that Sony had cancelled plans for MWC as well and the novel coronavirus situation in China has caused a lot of distress across the tech industry.

Facebook had already cancelled an event it had planned at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco a week back.

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Big technology players such as Facebook and Sony have pulled out of the forthcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC) over concerns of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. This comes after coronavirus derailed the world’s biggest mobile exhibition — the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. VOA

Facebook, which owns VR company Oculus, also announced it won’t be attending GDC in either capacity. Chris Pruett, the director of content ecosystem at Oculus, said in a statement, “Out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, our dev partners, and the GDC community as a whole, Facebook’s AR/VR and Gaming teams won’t be attending this year’s Game Developers Conference due to the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19”, the report added.

ALSO READ: “Should Online Platforms Be Liable for User Posts?”, Asks U.S Attorney General William Barr

Earlier this month, global telecom industry body GSMA cancelled the 2020 edition of the tech industry’s biggest event — MWC due to health safety concerns around novel coronavirus outbreak. (IANS)