A Syrian refugee in Germany is suing Facebook’s European branch and a user of the social network because of fake news, the Frankfurter Allgemeine reports.
A picture of Anas Modamani taking a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel was posted all over social media when it was taken in 2015.
But the comment section below the picture was used to accuse Modamani of crimes he did not commit and to spread fake news.
What led Modamani to take legal action is, among other things, is the suggestion that he was involved in an attack on a homeless man in Berlin. Seven young men — six Syrians and one Libyan who are now in custody — were suspected of having set the man on fire. The picture of Modamani with Merkel got somehow associated with that case.
The Facebook user being sued has been accused of sharing a photo montage that linked Modamani to the attack on the homeless man. The false post accusing Modamani of attacking the homeless man has been shared more than 500 times, but according to Facebook does not violate the “community standards.”
Modamani’s lawyer, Chan-jo Jun, has said that through the lawsuit he wants Facebook to stop spreading “slanderous fake news.”
This is the second time that Modamani has been accused of committing very serious crimes on the social media site. In the summer, he was accused of being involved in the Brussels bombings that killed 32 people.
According to Jun, should the case go to court, it would probably be the first time Facebook has appeared in front of a German court because of fake news.