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Facebook sued for censorship in France

French teacher sues Facebook for censorship - in Fance!Facebook's terms of service were ruled abusive by a French appeals court and found to "violate French consumer law by making it difficult for people in France to sue.” When a teacher in France had his Facebook account suspended for posting a photo of classic nude painting, he filed in suit in a French court. Facebook claimed the suit was invalid, because their terms of service require any disputes to be settled in a local court - local for Facebook, but now the door is open for numerous suits against Facebook by citizens defending their free speech on their own turf.

The painting censored by Facebook is "The Creation of the World" by Gustave Courbet currently hanging in Musée d'Orsay, Paris. It reveals the body of model Joanna Hiffernan, whose lover at the time was American painter, James Whistler. The friendship between the 2 painters crumbled in the aftermath. Though there is still speculation about the identity of the model, her genitals and one nipple are completely exposed, and this was what set the wheels in motion for legal action that will continue for some time. Wikipedia isn't shy about displaying the painting, in a large file.

Sources: BBC and Ars Technia

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