Facebook’s trouble with hate speech and other wise unhealthy content is not showing any signs of ending. An Austrian court has ruled that the social networking platform must remove all posts that are deemed to be hate speech.
The ruling comes over a lawsuit by Austria’s Green party. Last year, several defamatory posts were made against Green party leader Eva Glawischnig. The account in question was later discovered to be a fake but nevertheless, the party sued Facebook over the fact that the posts were not taken down after repeated requests.
Following the lawsuit, the Commercial Court of Vienna granted a preliminary injunction in December stating that teh social networking platform needed to remove all posts that were hateful in accordance with the Austrian law. Facebook of course, appealed against the ruling — probably thinking of all the extra resources it will have to dedicate in order to comply with the request. However, it would seem like the appeal has been denied.
What’s more, the appeals court has added a couple o clauses of its own. As per the new ruling, the company must not only remove the original post but, it also needed to remove any repostings. The company must also ensure that the content must be removed globally rather than being blocked locally.
Meanwhile, the Green Party does not seem to have any intentions of stopping just yet. From what we have gathered, the party is now planning to force the company to identify the holders of fake accounts. It also wants to make it easier for people lodging lawsuits to win damages. The party’s argument here being that if people know that they would be able to win damages at the end of a lawsuit , they might be willing to sue the company despite the costs involved.
Austria is not the only country pushing down on Facebook. Other countries, including the likes of Germany and the UK have also proposed stricter regulations and harsh fines if the company fails to remove illegal and hateful content quickly.
The company is also adding 3,000 new members to its already 4,500 strong team so as to tackle the problem more effectively. However, with the nmber of users pushing 2 Billion, it seems to me that Facebook needs to either make hires in the tens of thousands, or come up with some machine learning tools that can take care of the issue. And it needs to do so quickly, before it finds itself doling out fines and damages for the huge number of incriminating posts that are made every day on its platform.