Syrian refugee sues Facebook over defamatory posts

Nineteen-year-old Anas Modamani, a refugee from Damascus who took a selfie with Chancellor Angela Merkel, seeks an injunction after Facebook declined to remove all posts falsely linking him to crimes and terrorist attacks.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Syrian refugee Anas Modamani takes a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel outside a refugee camp near the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees on September 2015.

Anas Modamani, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee from Damascus, is suing Facebook after the social networking site failed to take sufficient action to prevent the spread of false posts that link him to crimes and terrorist attacks.

Modamani received several defamatory posts after he was pictured taking a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in September 2015, at a refugee shelter in the Berlin district of Spandau.

"Some people are trying to harm the reputation of the refugees like me and they are using Facebook to spread hatred against us," said Modamani.

Several anonymous accounts have shared false information linking Modamani to the Brussels Airport bombing in March 2016. Posts also linked him to an incident in which a homeless man was set on fire by six migrants at an underground station in Berlin in December.

Germany has been closely watching the story and is preparing legislation to force Facebook to remove "hate speech" from its web pages within 24 hours or face fines.

A spokesman for Facebook said the company removed two defamatory posts but could not simply disable all content related to the pictures.

Facebook was open to a case-by-case approach, the spokesman said.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies