Swiss man fined $4,000 by the court for liking defamatory posts

A court in Switzerland has indicted a man on a few counts of defamation after he “liked” offensive remarks on the online networking platform Facebook.

The court in Zurich found that the man by implication supported and additionally distributed the statements by utilizing the Facebook “like” button.

The man, who was not named in the court’s announcement, “liked” posts written for an animal rights activist, accusing him of racism, fascism, and antisemitism.

In court, the man could not demonstrate that the cases were exact or could sensibly be held to be valid.

“The defendant clearly endorsed the unseemly content and made it his own,” an announcement from the court said.
The court fined the man an aggregate of 4,000 Swiss francs ($4,100). He has the challenge his sentence.

Facebook said the case had no direct connection with the company, and a representative declined to remark.

The case is accepted to be the first run through a court has translated a “like” as an act of explicitly endorsing a post.

The Zurich court said the “likes” for this situation were made amongst July and September 2015, preceding Facebook expanded the new update where users could respond to a post through the many feeling buttons.

Until February 2016, the “like” button was the only way to respond to a post, and it had been used to demonstrate a scope of feelings, including concern.

Users can now use “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry” buttons to react to a post.

Facebook spent over a year setting up the responses. They worked with sociologists, focus groups and led reviews to figure out which feelings would make it to the polished product – the new reaction buttons.

It is said that the scope of responses needs more work because it does exclude critical feelings, for example, disagreement and fear. It will be interesting to see if Facebook, in the future, adds more of these buttons.


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