“False news”, “threats”: Reporters Without Borders file a complaint against Facebook

The main thing is that Facebook is in the sights of the NGO Reporters Without Borders, who accuse the social network of not complying with its obligation to “disseminate reliable information”. A complaint was filed about “misleading marketing practices”.

The NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announced on Tuesday that it was filing a complaint in France against Facebook for “misleading business practices”, arguing that the “massive spread” of hate speech and other false information on the social network was against the obligations of the EU platform for internet users.

That complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor on Monday, RSF said in a statement. According to the organization for the defense of the freedom of the press, it is based on “the obvious contradiction between the obligations of the social network towards consumers and the reality of its functioning”.

The complaint is addressed to the subsidiaries Facebook France and Facebook Ireland, through which the group operates in France.

“False Accusations”

RSF wants to prove that the obligations of the American group, which are expressed in particular in its general terms of use, are “largely based on false accusations”: while the platform undertakes to take measures to maintain a “safe and error-free environment”, he is The association references several types of hateful content and other fake news that thrive on the network.

Evidence provided by RSF in support of its complaint includes death threats against Charlie Hebdo journalists or the release of videos such as the documentary “Hold Up” which is accused of spreading conspiratorial theories.

“Questionable Business Practice”

For NGOs, this constitutes a “misleading commercial practice” within the meaning of the French Consumer Code, a criminal offense punishable by a fine “which can reach 10% of the average annual turnover”. RSF adds that “Facebook’s terms of use are the same around the world and a court ruling in France about its misleading nature could have global repercussions” and is also investigating “the filing of similar complaints in other countries”.

Several complaints have been filed against social networks in France in recent months. In early March, fourteen feminist activists sued Facebook in court, accusing its Instagram daughter of censoring some of her posts while users left pestering her with impunity. Competitor Twitter is also the subject of several proceedings.