Germany: Facebook fake post trial

A German court has rejected a temporary injunction against facebook in a case brought by Syrian refugee Anas Modamani, who took a selfie with Angela Merkel in 2015.

Syrian refugee Anas Modamani waited with his mobile phone ready and when German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged, he snapped a selfie.  pic.twitter.com/988wWgVoEz— KaRaYe II (@Eminent_karaye) February 22, 2017

Modamani sued the site for failing to remove faked posts which link him to crimes and militant attacks. Modamani’s image was shared on Facebook on anonymous accounts, alongside posts falsely claiming he was responsible for the Brussels Airport bombing of March 2016 and the setting on fire of a homeless man in December last year by six migrants at an underground station in Berlin.

The case has been closely watched as Germany, a frequent critic of Facebook, is preparing legislation to force the social networking website to remove “hate speech” from its web pages within 24 hours or face fines.

The Wuerzburg district court said in a preliminary ruling that Facebook is neither a “perpetrator nor a participant” in what it called “undisputable defamation” by Facebook users. It found the social network was acting as a hosting provider and is not responsible for pre-emptively blocking offensive content under European law.

Modamani’s lawyer Chan-jo Jun told a news conference:

“We have to decide whether we want to accept that Facebook can basically do whatever it wants or whether German law and above all the removal of illegal contents in Germany, will be enforced. If we want that we need new laws.”

Lawyer in Merkel selfie case tells me Modamani is “disappointed” by ruling, but wanted to prove he wasn’t a terrorist, & has achieved that— C. Chelsom-Pill (@charlottejourno) March 7, 2017

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