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Facebook Admin Fined By Sweden For “Offensive Posts”

A Facebook page admin was fined by the Swedish government for not removing “offensive posts” on his page Stand Up For Sweden. This is why Gab’s value of protecting free speech, but also privacy rights is so important. We regularly receive data requests from foreign companies over users who are posting “offensive content” on Gab. We do not comply. Privacy is just as important and crucial to protecting free speech online.

The folks over at National File covered the story:

Sweden is no stranger to punishing social media users for wrongthink, either.

65-year-old woman was put on trial for ‘hate speech’ after suggesting that mass immigration would lower the country’s IQ.

91-year-old man was convicted of ‘hate speech’ for making disparaging remarks about Muslims on social media.

However, they’re now punishing social media users for hosting wrongthink, when a Facebook group administrator was fined for failing to delete posts he didn’t make.

Peter Markström, an administrator for the group, “Stå Upp För Sverige” (Stand Up For Sweden), was fined for not removing eight posts deemed by a Swedish court to be ‘grossly offensive comments.’

The Next Web reports:

Markström denied responsibility claiming he had not seen the comments on the group before. Despite this, yesterday the Eskilstuna District Court found him guilty after agreeing with the prosecutor that the comments were clearly discriminatory against ethnic minority groups.

In a press release published by the court, it outlined: “The district court found that the man must have seen six of these comments and that he therefore had intentions not to remove them. The man had also become aware of the presence of the other two comments but remained passive. He was therefore judged to have been grossly negligent regarding its failure to remove these two comments.”

The European Commission defines illegal hate speech as public conduct that incites violence or hatred against a group of people or a member of such a group defined by characteristics such as race, color, religion, and ethnic origin.

The Facebook group–originally called ‘Stand up For Peter Singare’–was founded after police officer, Peter Singare, stated immigrant-related crime statistics on his personal profile.

The group’s name eventually changed to ‘Stand Up For Sweden,’ amassing over 200,000 members in only a few months.

Markström was handed a suspended sentence and 19,200 kronor fine ($2,070). 

According to The Local:

the court found that he must have seen six of these comments himself and actively intended not to remove them. The other two comments had also been brought to his attention, but he “remained passive” and showed “gross negligence” by not deleting them.

The court based its ruling on Sweden’s law on bulletin board systems, which states that a person who provides such a forum could also be responsible for what is written by other users.

The law dates back to the late 1990s, before Facebook existed, but the court ruled that the social media site falls under the same legislation – a decision that could set a legal precedent in Sweden.

Legal experts said they believe the case could be appealed to Sweden’s Supreme Court.