Man Fined On Liking A Facebook Post
A court in Switzerland fined a man of $4,100 and a two-year suspended prison sentence in a defamation case after he was found guilty for liking slanderous comments on Facebook social media platform.
The court in Zurich found that the man indirectly endorsed and further distributed the comments by using the Facebook “like” button.
The Facebook posts involved the 45-year-old defendant “liking” comments that accused Erwin Kessler, who runs an animal-rights group, of racism and anti-Semitism. The defendant clicked “like” on six of the inflammatory comments posted by other Facebook users, and also commented and linked to some of the posts.
In court, the man was not able to prove that the claims were accurate or could reasonably be held to be true.
“The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own,” a statement from the court said.
The court fined the man a total of $4,100 (Rs. 2,67,000) but the defendant can still appeal the decision to Zurich’s cantonal court.
Facebook said the case had “no direct link” to the company and they declined to comment.
The case is believed to be the first time a court has interpreted a “like” as an explicit endorsement of a post.
The Zurich court said the “likes” in this case were made between July and September 2015, before Facebook broadened the range of emotions that users can deploy when responding to a post.