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Facebook and contract law

FB has to bear the costs of consulting a lawyer and court fees after it previously blocked a FB account and then behaved in a very non-transparent manner.


Germany / Schleswig Higher Regional Court, decision of August 16, 2023 - 10 W 15/23


Facebook deactivated a user's account because of allegedly illegal content. There was no advance warning. The woman's request for a review also remained unanswered. After the lawyer she had hired only received a standard email, the user applied to the Lübeck Regional Court for an urgent decision. This should prohibit the company from permanently deleting the account in a so-called expedited procedure.


Even before the District Court (LG) could decide on the application, Facebook released the account again. Court and legal costs had already been incurred. The company argued that it had no intention of permanently deleting the account and refused to cover the costs.


The Schleswig Higher Regional Court (decision of August 16, 2023 - 10 W 15/23) did not share the FB-opinion and confirmed the District Court's previous decision. Because of the non-transparent process, the user then had every reason to fear the final loss of her account and all her data. Therefore, the company has to cover the legal costs. Whether it actually had no intention of permanently deleting the account is unimportant.


Users have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to the question of when is the right time to seek legal help. According to the judges, this results from the fact that the platform operator offers pre-litigation options for redress, but then leaves users largely in the dark as to how, when and whether a reaction will be made to this.

In addition, no comprehensible information is kept as to how long the personal data will be “safe” from being deleted after the account has been deactivated and when the deletion process will be initiated.

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