Facebook claims it is 'publisher' in court case

Facebook claims it is 'publisher' in court case
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Facebook’s lawyers are arguing in a court case that the social media platform is a publisher, a designation that runs contrary to its standard line that it is a technology company, not a publisher or media website.

Facebook used the argument in defending its decision to not publish certain content on its site, which it said is within its free speech rights, according to The Guardian.

In Facebook's lawyers claim that it is a “publisher” which gives it the right to decide “what not publish.” 

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“The publisher discretion is a free speech right irrespective of what technological means is used. A newspaper has a publisher function whether they are doing it on their website, in a printed copy or through the news alerts,” Sonal Mehta, a lawyer for Facebook, said in court.

Facebook is defending itself against a lawsuit, filed by a former startup called Six4Three in 2015, that charges it maliciously and fraudulently scooped up user data and data on their friends, even ones that didn’t use Facebook. Six4Three alleges that Facebook read text messages, tracking their locations and accessing photos on their phones, as a part of a plot to run competitors out of business.

Facebook has said the “claims have no merit” and that it will fight them in court.

Facebook’s claim of being a publisher flies in the face of its repeated claim that it is not a publisher nor a media company. The company’s top leaders, including CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp MORE and COO Sheryl Sandberg, have repeatedly fended off characterizations that it is a media company.