National Courts Can Order Worldwide Takedown, Says CJEU in Case Against Facebook
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that host providers, such as Facebook, can be required to take down illegal content, including identical or equivalent variations, worldwide once they are made aware of it. The Court was ruling on the interpretation of the E-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC) in a defamation case brought by an Austrian politician. (Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v. Facebook Ireland Limited, Case C-18/18 [ECLI:EU:C:2019:821].) The politician, Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek of the Green party, asked Facebook Ireland (which operates Facebook outside of the U.S. and Canada) to delete a news clipping and associated comment, which she claimed insulted and defamed her. Following court proceedings in Austria, Facebook Ireland disabled access in Austria to the specific content published. However, the case raised the following questions: could Facebook Ireland additionally be ordered to remove posts with identical or equivalent content to that already found to be illegal, and should it disable access to the illegal content worldwide?