There is no shortage of legal troubles for Facebook in Germany, but unlike many of them, a case between a Syrian refugee and the social network finished in a ruling that landed Facebook a controversial win.
Anas Modamani, 19, fled to Germany with the thousands of other Syrian refugees, and while many have become targets for hate crimes from locals, a seemingly harmless selfie with German chancellor Angela Merkel, led to a flood of photoshopped images that painted Modamani as someone involved in terrorist attacks around the country.
Many of these fake news stories were spread through Facebook, leading to Modamani taking the company to court for ruining his life and not taking action to block such stories from ever appearing. Facebook has a history of losing in the German courts, but when it came to this specific case, the court ruled in favor of the social network’s claims that it would be next to impossible to block a story from appearing before it was actually posted.
In a statement made to The New York Times after the court’s ruling, Facebook said that they “appreciate that this is a very difficult situation for Mr. Modamani,” but in the end “are pleased that the court shares our view that the legal action initiated was not merited or the most effective way to resolve the situation.”
Modamani has a month to file an appeal, though it is unclear whether he will take such an action.