In a landmark trial, a Swiss man has received a suspended sentence and a CHF4,000 ($4,000) fine in a defamation case which involved him “liking” Facebook posts that accused an animal rights activist of racism and anti-Semitism.
On Monday, a Zurich district court found the 45-year-old defendant guilty of defamation. The Zurich man had accused Erwin Kessler, the president of the animal protection organisation “Verein gegen Tierfabrikenexternal link” and his association online of racism and anti-Semitism.
The defendant had also liked six Facebook posts from other people that contained the inflammatory content, also commenting on and linking to several of the posts.
The court said the inflammatory Facebook posts were unjustifiable. According to Judge Catherine Gerwig, such defamatory statements on the social media network violated Kessler’s honour. By clicking on a Facebook “Like” button, the defendant was endorsing the defamatory content and making it his own.