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Austria orders Facebook to delete hate postings

And not just block them from Austrian users.
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mactrunk via Getty Images

Facebook is having a hard time lately amid claims of fake news, political bias and sexism. The European Union considered legislation to encourage a more unified response to such postings and Germany supports fines for social networks that ignore hate speech. Similarly, today an Austrian appeals court ruled that Facebook must delete hate postings written about the leader of the country's Green party -- and not just in Austria.

The original case was filed by the Austrian political party last December around posts written by a fake profile that called MP Eva Glawischnig a "rotten traitor" and a "corrupt tramp." The Green party alleges that Facebook had not removed the posts after several requests to do so. The appeals court noted that it would be difficult to find similar postings, but that Facebook must remove the posts in question as well as any verbatim reposts. It also clarified that Facebook has to delete the posts globally, rather than just blocking them for Austrian users.

The Green party is pushing to get an even stronger ruling in a higher court and demanding that Facebook also delete posts that are similar (not just identical), identify the holders of the fake accounts and pay damages to encourage other victims of hate postings like these to seek restitution. "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," Green parliamentarian Dieter Brosz said.

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