In 2011, a French man changed his Facebook profile photo to a 19th-century oil painting for a woman’s vagina. For that, his profile was blocked. The man sued Facebook over the issue, and now a Paris court has ruled that Facebook’s policies over litigation are “abusive.”
At the time of the original filing, the man’s lawyer, Stephane Cottineau, spoke out strongly against Facebook’s far-reaching power.
‘This blind censorship and refusal to reply to emails suggests he is not worthy of their attention and is someone who has acted immorally or illegally,” he said. “Deleting his account is a breach of his human rights, which guarantees my client’s freedom of expression.”
A Facebook clause forces all users who register for the site to agree that any litigation dealing with the site must be filed in California, the state where the company is based. However, the court ruled that the clause is unfair to French users as it gives them virtually no legal recourse when dealing with Facebook. In other words, the French court asserted its jurisdiction over Facebook, saying French officials can deal with issues pertaining to the site when they occur on French soil.
As Facebook expands its reach around the world, it will likely find itself tangled in local laws more and more. The site has met especially stiff resistance in European countries, where privacy and data laws are stricter.