The owner of the page on the social network is responsible for other people's comments that violate the law, follows from the decision of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR, adopted on May 15. The Chamber upheld an earlier court ruling in the case of French politician Julien Sanchez, who was fined for making hate speech on his Facebook post.
“Since the applicant decided to make his Facebook ''wall'' public and ''allowed his friends to post comments'', the court considered that he could not have been unaware, given the tension in the region and the ongoing election campaign around that time, that his choice was clearly not without certain potentially serious consequences,” the decision of the Grand Chamber reads.
In 2011, Sanchez, a member of the right-wing National Rally party, who at the time was a member of the regional council of Occitania and was running for parliament, wrote a post criticizing his political rival. Two people left comments under this post with racist remarks against Muslims and people of North Africa. Sanchez later called on his supporters to be more careful in their statements, but did not delete the comments.
Leyla T, a resident of Nîmes, filed a complaint against these comments with the prosecutor's office. As a result, both commentators and the owner of the page were fined €3,000 each, and ordered to jointly pay compensation of €1,000 to the victim.
Sanchez appealed to the ECHR, but in September 2021, the court ruled that he was legally prosecuted. The Court found no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression) in the case.