By SAMUEL PETREQUIN / The Associated Press
Source: Read full article at Truthdig
BRUSSELS—The European Union’s highest court ruled Thursday that individual member countries can force Facebook to remove what they regard as unlawful material from the social network all over the world _ a decision experts say could hinder free speech online and put a heavy burden on tech companies.
The European Court of Justice ruling, which cannot be appealed, is seen as a defeat for Facebook and other online platforms and widens the divide over how heavily Europe and the U.S. seek to regulate technology giants.
It would increase the onus on them to monitor what appears online.
“It really unleashes a whole new gamut of risk and worries for Facebook in the EU,” said Wedbush Securities managing director Daniel Ives.
Ruling in the case of an Austrian politician who objected to what she regarded as a libelous news story, the European court said Internet companies can be forced to take action worldwide to remove objectionable material when ordered to do so by a court in an EU country.
Facebook already removes or otherwise restricts photos and other posts in any given country if the material violates that nation’s laws, such as anti-government…