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Swiss court fines man for liking inflammatory contents on Facebook

A district court in northern Switzerland's Zurich on Monday gave a Swiss man a suspended sentence and a 4,000 CHF (4,000 U.S. dollars) fine in a defamation case which involved him "liking" on Facebook posts, local media reported on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old defendant was found guilty of defamation for his liking posted on Facebook that accused an animal rights activist of racism and anti-Semitism, the Swissinfo reported.

According to the report, the Facebook posts accused Erwin Kessler, the president of the animal protection organisation "Verein gegen Tierfabrikenexternal link" and his association of racism and anti-Semitism.

The defendant, still having the right to appeal the decision to Zurich's cantonal court, had also liked six Facebook posts from other people that contained the inflammatory content, the report said.

The report cited the court as saying that the inflammatory Facebook posts were "unjustifiable".

"According to Judge Catherine Gerwig, such defamatory statements on the social media network violated Kessler's honour. By clicking on a Facebook "Like" button, the defendant was endorsing the defamatory content and making it his own," the report said.

The act of "liking" content on Facebook spreads it more widely across the site and makes it available to a greater number of people, the court was cited as saying.

The court added that the defendant could not prove that the offending statements about Kessler and his organization were true or that he had good reason to believe them to be true.

Xinhua / PNA