Swiss court’s landmark ruling over Facebook ‘likes’

Swiss court’s landmark ruling over Facebook ‘likes’

In Geneva, a Swiss court has fined a man for “liking” comments on Facebook condemning an animal rights campaigner in a landmark ruling of being an “anti-Semite” and a “racist”.

In Switzerland, in the first case of its kind, the Zurich district court on Monday slipped a 45-year-old man for thumping the “Like” button under what the moderator deemed defamatory comments on the Facebook.

On Tuesday Court has sent the declaration to AFP, saying that the defendant had blamed Erwin Kessler and the animal safeguard group he runs, Verein Gegen Tierfabriken (Against Animal Factories), of racial discrimination and anti-Semitism in Facebook posts.

However, the court also took concern with the man’s act to hit the “Like” button under numerous comments from third parties regarding Kessler that were considered challenging and commented and associated to some of them.

The comments were made during frenzied discussions in 2015 on a range of Facebook groups on which animal welfare groups supposed to be allowed to take part in a big vegan street festival, the statement by Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger.

More than a dozen people sued by Kessler who took part in those exchanges said Amr Abdelaziz a lawyer for one of the defendants.

Several people have beforehand convicted in the case, mostly understand specific comments they made, but it comes out the man convicted on Monday was the first to be sanctioned simply for “liking” comments made by others. In its declaration, the court said it did not matter that the comments had not originated from the defendant, whose name was not specified.

According to the court report, by clicking the ‘Like’ button, “the defendant clearly endorsed the inappropriate content and made it his own”.

Kessler had been crooked under Switzerland’s anti-racism law almost two decades ago, getting a brief prison ruling for evaluating Jewish ritual slaughter methods with Nazi practices.

But the Zurich judge lined on Monday that the defendant had unsuccessful to verify that the comments he had “liked” on Facebook were true. At the same time, by “liking” the comments, the man had spread them to his list of Facebook contacts, and “thus made them reachable to a fat number of people,” the court statement said. Furthermore, His actions should thus be considered as an “upset to [Kessler’s] honor”.

 

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