Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative (SIN) v Meta

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Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative (SIN) v Meta

By blocking the social media accounts and groups of the Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative (SIN) without warning, explanation, or a real opportunity to appeal from those decisions, Meta infringed the organisation’s personal interests. The court ordered Meta to restore the blocked content and apologise publicly to SIN for unjustly taking down SIN’s accounts and groups on Facebook and Instagram.

On 13 March 2024, the Warsaw Regional Court held that taking down user content from social media without explaining the reasons or appealing against the decisions infringed the user’s personal interests. In the oral justification for the judgment issued from the bench, the court pointed out that Meta’s removal of SIN content from Facebook and Instagram in this manner violated the association’s freedom of expression and reputation, as well as its sense of certainty and safety. The court also found that the case against Meta could be heard in Poland, rather than before the courts in Ireland, where Meta has its registered office.

At the request of the Panoptykon Foundation, Wardyński & Partners has represented SIN pro bono since 2019 in its litigation against Facebook for infringing SIN’s personal interests.

The Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative (Społeczna Inicjatywa Narkopolityki) is an NGO which for years has sought to spread knowledge about the harmful effects of psychoactive substances and assisted drug users.

In 2018, Facebook, which was a strategic platform for SIN’s operations, deleted the SIN page and group, finding that they violated Facebook Community Standards, without warning or a transparent explanation. The suit against Meta (then still operating under the name Facebook) for infringement of SIN’s personal interests was filed in May 2019. SIN alleged in the complaint that the takedown unjustly restricted the organisation’s ability to disseminate information, express its views, and communicate with audiences.

On 2 July 2019, the court hearing the case issued an interim injunction prohibiting Meta from taking down pages, accounts or groups operated by SIN on Facebook and Instagram, or blocking individual posts by SIN.

On 13 March 2024 the court ordered Meta to restore the blocked content and publicly apologise to SIN for unjustly taking down the organisation’s accounts and groups on Facebook and Instagram. The judgment is not legally final, and the defendant may seek review by the Warsaw Court of Appeal.

The case was led by Łukasz LasekPiotr Golędzinowski and Bartosz Troczyński from the firm’s Dispute Resolution practice.