Man fined $4,000 for clicking the Like button of defamatory Facebook posts

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June 15, 2017 by Paul Dughi

likeHere’s a twist.  A Swiss man has been fined roughly $4,000 bucks for clicking the Like button on Facebook.  Yup, you read that right.  Fortune reports that the man (not named in court) clicked the Like button on what a judge termed defamatory comments on Facebook.

By clicking the Like button, the judge said, the defendant was endorsing “unseemly content.”  The content was targeting Erwin Kessler, head of animal rights group, and accused him of being racist and anti-Semitic, according to The Telegraph.  Some of the posts called Kessler’s group fascists and neo-nazis.

Kessler fired back by going to court.  He argued that by liking the posts, the defendant was making them visible to a larger audience and thereby intending to cause further harm.  The judge bought the argument despite the fact the Kessler himself had been convicted of making racists comments in 1998.  That’s illegal in Switzerland.   The judge, however, said the defendant couldn’t prove the statements in question true, but liking them showed he supported the comments.

In the U.S., a Like is protected speech under the First Amendment (See Bland v. Roberts).  Not so in Switzerland.

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