Austrian court orders Facebook to delete hate posts worldwide

Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg delivers a speech during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 22, 2016. (Xinhua/Lino De Vallier)
VIENNA, May 10 (Xinhua) — Social media company Facebook has been forced to delete hate posts worldwide following a ruling in the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Vienna, local media reported on Tuesday.
Up until now Facebook had only been required to block the posts in the country in which they were made.
The case was spearheaded by the Austrian Greens Party, who used a fake Facebook profile that had made defamatory posts about their party leader Eva Glawischnig as a basis for their complaint, the Upper Austria OO Nachrichten reported.
Initially the Commercial Court in Vienna had ordered the posts be deleted, prompting a legal challenge from Facebook. On Monday the OLG rejected this, and issued an interim injunction.
Lawyer for the Greens Maria Windhager said the social media giant claims it can only be legally challenged in either California or in Ireland, where its European Union headquarters is based.
She said should the company not follow the OLG ruling, legal action will then be pursued in Ireland, that could result in fines or the company having its servers switched off.
The OO Nachrichten cited media legal expert Winfried Sattlegger as being sceptical the Greens initiative would have its intended outcome, however.
He said it would be difficult, given the varying legal systems around the world, and the lack of umbrella regulation.
In addition the material exists on a number of servers and could therefore not see a straight-forward deletion on a global scale, he argued.