Facebook – friend or foe?
There has been much written in the past few days about the responsibility and the possible liability of the Internet site Facebook for postings which may appear to incite violence or hatred against others following the Raoul Moat shootings and suicide. Doubtless some of the views are not to everyone’s taste, but as a country we value the concept of freedom of expression, a right upheld by the national and the European courts, even when the opinions held may “shock, disturb and offend the state or any section of the population” (Muller v. Switzerland (1988) 13 EHRR 212). This is increasingly problematic on user-generated content web sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. There seem to be two questions that are worthy of debate – are the postings and comments of a criminal nature, and if they are, is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) criminally liable for the comments made by one of its subscribers?