By Julian Hattem - 06/13/14 11:52 AM EDT
A top appeals court sided with Facebook on Friday in a case over a page on the website calling for violence against Jewish people.
A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss the case, because Facebook cannot be held responsible for the content on its site, no matter how egregious.
In 2011, conservative lawyer Larry Klayman sued Facebook over a group page on the site called “Third Palestinian Intifada,” which encouraged Muslims to rise up and kill Jewish people.
The Internet giant took the page down after a request from Israel's public diplomacy ministry, but Klayman said that it was not fast enough. The company’s move “amount[ed] to a threat of the use of force against non-Muslims, and particularly Jews,” he said.
In siding with Facebook, the court relied upon a portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that protects social media companies from being liable for content published by others.
Even with a “generous reading of the complaint,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote in the court’s decision, “the Communications Decency Act forbids this suit.”
Klayman claimed that a “special relationship” between Facebook and its users made the company responsible for online content, but Millett claimed his argument “does not work.”
Facebook’s legal section, she noted, includes the warning: "Facebook is not responsible for the actions, content, information, or data of third parties.”
“The plain text of the Statement thus disavows the legal relationship that Klayman asserts,” she wrote.