The legal limits of Facebook privacy and internal checks or balances

For those outside of Greece, the case yesterday of someone getting arrested for making a Facebook page probably sounds a bit like some Muslim fanatic in Iran.   It is not quite the same in some ways though it is true that Church and State are way too close in our country.  Interestingy no major news agency has covered the case, so your best bet for a summary of the facts is in this article on HuffPo and this one from Greek reporter.

Our (anyone who cares about free speech) first reaction was of course to start similar parody Facebook pages ourselves.   Not as many as I hoped but about a dozen pages, equally or more funny than the original were started today.   Worryingly a few of them were removed almost instantly by Facebook.   Even more worryingly in one case the person who made the page had her whole Facebook account removed!

But then my legal mind fired up.   So I started a page which is an exact replica of the page that got the 27year old arrested.   Based on what I could find from the Google cache.   Arrest me now!   All I did was take publically available information from one part of the internet and put it on another part of the internet.   If they want to put me on trial today alongside the original page creator they will have to close down Google servers first!

Still, from a strictly Facebook point of view, they could close down the page for whatever breach of whichever rule they pick.   Their social network, their rules.   The case does produce some interesting questions such as “how and why did Facebook give the Greek authorities access to the page creator’s IP adress?” but technically and legally they could close down my clone page.  So I deleted it!   Not before it had 124 likes which means that I can’t delete it though.   Because Facebook makes any page delete request wait for 14 days.

So for the next 14 days, a page identical to the one that got someone arrested is publicly available here and Facebook can’t do anything to me.   Or at least if they do, they will be way way worse in terms of breach of logic than even the Greek police was yesterday.

It’s called freedom of speech people.  Get used to it.   There was nothing insulting of Christianity in the Facebook page called “old man Pastitsios”.   Making fun of the people gaining from the memory of a possibly gifted man who has died cannot and should not be illegal.

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