The Supreme Court has issued a ruling stating that a Facebook user can be legally responsible for what other users write in public, for example, on their wall or in response to their messages and comments. The civil judges confirm a sentence of 3,000 euros to a man who for years denounced on his Facebook account a conflict he had with the local council and who did not delete comments from other users in which several people were insulted.
The limits to freedom of expression increase in Spain until you end up in a prison cell
The comments were written on Facebook between 2016 and 2018. The convict repeatedly denounced a conflict he had had with the city council of the Galician town where he lived, as well as with several neighbors. Some publications in which other users wrote various insults for those mentioned: insults such as “homophobes, ignorant” or “ticks” and even invitations to “hire a thug” to deal with them.
A court in Ferrol refused to convict the owner of the Facebook profile but the Court of A Coruña it did force him to compensate those affected with 3,000 euros. Not for expressing a real conflict that he had with the local administration and with the neighbors, but for some insults that, according to the judges, “didn’t come to mind.” And the Galician court understood that the owner of the profile should also be held responsible for the comments that he had not written: “It was not something specific or that could go unnoticed, but they had their acquiescence or agreement, by responding to practically all the comments and thank the interventions. He even got to block and delete the comments of a different sign from a neighbor who asked for good sense, “explained that sentence.
A resolution that has just been confirmed by the civil chamber of the Supreme Court, endorsing the sentence. The judges understand that one of the expressions that he himself used, referring to one of the neighbors with whom he had the conflict, as a woman with a “face like a 5 kilo bread roll”, did not violate the honor of the affected. “Although she may be annoying and considered unpleasant, even demonstrative of the rudeness or rudeness of the person who utters it,” say the judges, it does not affect her right to her honor.
“You can’t just ignore it”
The Supreme Court judges explain that you can also be held civilly liable for what others wrote on your wall, profile or in response to your comments because Facebook gives you the ability to delete or block this type of comment.
“He cannot simply ignore what is published on his profile by other users, for the sole and simple reason that it is not his responsibility, but others, who are the author of what is published, and therefore consider that these are the exclusively responsible for what has been stated or disclosed and the only ones who must bear the consequences”, says the ruling.
In addition, in his case, he did delete comments that did not seem correct to him. “He allowed the comments published by third parties on his public Facebook profile to remain on it, instead of deleting them, which is what he should have done,” the judges reproached. “There is a duty of reactive diligence and care that obliges him, exercising his power of control, to its immediate deletion.”