Facebook is being sued by a journalism advocacy group; not for its suppression of free speech, but for not censoring enough.
Reporters Without Borders, also known by their French acronym RSF, revealed that they had filed a lawsuit against Facebook in France. According to the French watchdog, Facebook ended up breaking its own terms of service by not protecting users against hate speech.
RSF said that the Big Tech platform was being sued for “misleading commercial practices” and allowing “massive proliferation” of “misinformation” and “hate speech.”
Pointing out the social media giant's terms of service where it vouches to provide “a safe, secure and error-free environment” for users, RSF said that Facebook fails to do so considering the alleged rampant misinformation, false news, and hate speech on the platform.
“Using expert analyses, personal testimony and statements from former Facebook employees, RSF's lawsuit demonstrates that … it (Facebook) allows disinformation and hate speech to flourish on its network … contrary to the claims made in its terms of service and through its ads,” said RSF.
The lawsuit filed by the French watchdog primarily targets Facebook France and Facebook Ireland. The French consumer code against the use of deceptive commercial practice is the basis for the lawsuit filed by RSF.
The death threats against French magazine journalists Charlie Hebdo that were posted on Facebook were referenced in the lawsuit. Even the French film about the COVID-19 pandemic, “Hold Up,” was also mentioned in the lawsuit. Made by the French independent journalist Pierre Barnérias, the film makes several controversial remarks about the pandemic.
RSF said that it was planning on filing similar lawsuits in other countries as well. The watchdog also said that Facebook's terms of service remain the same across the world – meaning that a judgement in France can certainly bring about changes on a global level.
In the recent past, several social media companies, including giants such as Instagram and Twitter, have been slapped with lawsuits in France. In the early March of this year, 14 female activists dragged Facebook to court, as Instagram, which is owned by the Big Tech giant, took their posts down and “allowed” others to harass them online.
Facebook did not comment on the lawsuit filed by the French watchdog as yet.