Polish court overrules Facebook on foreign language complaints
A Polish court has told social media giant Facebook that it has no legal standing to ignore complaints made in a foreign language.
The ruling comes following a 2019 complaint by the president of Poland’s National Media Council, Krzysztof Czabański, that content he had shared on the the US-owned social media giant had been censored.
After refusing to pay a PLN 2,000 (EUR 440) bill to translate his complaint into English, his lawyer appealed to Poland’s Court of Appeals which quoted a 2019 ruling by a court in Dusseldorf, Germany, saying that in legal disputes with German users, Facebook cannot demand that documents in German are translated into English.
The Warsaw Court of Appeals said: "There are no sufficient reasons to conclude that, despite being a foreign entity, Facebook Ireland Ltd, headquartered in Dublin, does not know Polish since it prepares user regulations and privacy policies in this language as well as signs numerous agreements in Polish with Polish users.
"Undoubtedly, for this purpose, the defendant uses qualified personnel with Polish language skills, therefore it understands the language.”
Following the verdict, and accusing Facebook of endangering freedom of speech, Czabański told PAP: "It is a breakthrough verdict.
“Until now, Facebook behaved in Poland as if it were a king of a country it has colonised.
"It has millions of users, but imposes its regulations on them and if someone doesn't like it and goes to court, then Facebook uses the argument that it can't understand Polish.”
He added: ”Facbook does business in Poland, earns big money, but when it comes to accepting responsibility, it suddenly doesn't speak Polish.
”Now the Court of Appeals ruled for the first time that a claim written in Polish is a sufficient one.
“This ruling will pave the way for many other cases.”