The Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf and the Society for Freedom Rights (GFF) have filed a lawsuit against Facebook and its parent company Meta after the platform operator deleted the Facebook page of the non-profit association for cinematographic lovers in December 2021 without prior notice or justification.
The social media presence was probably removed due to the controversial nipple ban on meta-networks. The film workshop had previously posted a program reference to the Oscar-nominated film “The Shaman and the Snake” with a still image on which a group only with Indians dressed in loincloths could be seen.
GFF announced that the site of the film workshop would be restored and protected from further blocking or deletion. The lawsuit was filed by the Hausfeld law firm at the end of February. The aim of the lawsuit is to strengthen artistic freedom on the internet.
Jürgen Bering, lawyer and process coordinator at the civil rights organization, said that the workshop still doesn’t know why Facebook deleted the page, and accordingly can’t defend itself against it. The fact that even a cultural association has become a “victim of the arbitrary bans” shows that it can happen to anyone.
The disappeared Facebook page, which more than 4000 people followed, was the most important channel for advertising the film workshop. Due to the arbitrary deletion on the “market-dominant” social media platform, they can only disseminate their offers, such as film screenings and discussion groups, online to a limited extent.
The GFF complains that when service providers use algorithms to moderate content, errors are inevitable. Such program routines “impact on factors such as bare skin, but without understanding the context of a work”.
The actions of the US group contradict the case law of the Federal Court of Justice from 2021, according to which Facebook must respect the fundamental rights of its users and enable them to take action against sanctions imposed.
In a similar case, the GFF was able to achieve success for the civil society organization Goliathwatch last year. At that time, the Hamburg Higher Regional Court decided that Facebook had to reactivate the corporate critics’ page.