Yesterday (15 March), a Paris civil court issued a mixed ruling in a years-long legal brought by the French schoolteacher Frédéric Durand-Baïssas against Facebook over censorship claims, finding the social media giant at fault but dismissing any damages. Durand-Baïssas says the social media giant closed his account in 2011 because he posted L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World, 1866), an explicit full-frontal female nude by the French painter Gustave Courbet.
The court—which heard arguments in the case last month—stated in its written ruling that Facebook failed to fulfill its contractual obligations towards the user, since it deactivated the account “without giving Frédéric Durand a reasonable period of notice and without specifying the reasons for this deactivation”.
It also ruled that contracts between Facebook and French users are bound by French consumer law, and that legal disputes between French users of Facebook and the social media company fall under the jurisdiction of France, not California where Facebook is based, setting a legal precedent.
However, all of Durand’s demands were dismissed. Durand’s claim that Facebook closed his account because he posted the image was “unfounded”, the ruling says. It also denied him the €20,000 in damages he was seeking, since he did not prove his claim that he lost the contact information for hundreds of Facebook “friends” and was able to open a new account on the site the same day. Read more