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Austrian court: Facebook must delete hate posts abroad too

Austria's Green party, which brought the case because of insulting posts about one of its leaders, is seeking an even stronger ruling.


Facebook, helmed by Mark Zuckerberg, has said it takes the issue of hate speech "very seriously."

James Martin/CNET

Facebook has to remove posts identified as hate speech, an Austrian court has ruled, but not just in that country. It has to delete those posts from across the social network worldwide.

Austria's Green party brought the case against the world's largest social network because of insulting posts about one of its leaders. The party shared news of the ruling, and it was confirmed by a court spokesman, according to Reuters on Monday.

"Facebook must put up with the accusation that it is the world's biggest platform for hate and that it is doing nothing against this," Dieter Brosz, a Green party member of parliament, told Reuters.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The social network is trying to combat hate speech on its site across the globe, saying it takes the issue "very seriously" but also that it's "highly complex" and there are no easy solutions. Last month, Germany approved a plan that would impose strict new rules on social media sites when it comes to hate speech and fake news, and fine them if they don't comply with those rules.

The Viennese appeals court ruling didn't go as far as the Green party wanted. Identical posts must be removed, but similar posts don't. The party, which is also seeking damages, hopes the country's highest court will order Facebook to delete similar posts, as well as reveal the identities of fake accounts, according to Reuters.