Facebook (illustration)
Facebook (illustration) iStock

Israel's Supreme Court on Thursday issued an unprecedented ruling, changing the rules of the game when it comes to critical or "defaming" social media posts, Maariv reported.

In the ruling, Supreme Court justices Yael Willner, Daphne Barak-Erez, and Menahem Mazuz ruled on a case in which a local newspaper sued a couple who "liked" and "shared" a Facebook page called "Givatayim boycotts the Mekomon (a local newspaper - ed.)."

The suit began in the magistrates court before being brought before the district court and finally to the Supreme Court.

According to the suit, the couple shared posts which were declared to be defamation and part of an organized attempt to slander Mekomon after it published criticism of the performance of political figures in the municipality. The couple appealed to the Supreme Court, which rejected their appeal and supported the lower court's decision to charge them for defamation.

In their ruling, Barak-Erez and Mazuz detailed the technological challenges and civil wrongs of the defamation laws as they have been understood until now.

According to Maariv, the Supreme Court ruled that "sharing" a post is repetition of its publication, which exposes the post to additional users. However, a "like" does not create a "copy" of the post and therefore does not constitute a violation of Israel's defamation laws. The laws regarding defamation apply to "publicizing" the slander, and the question is what constitutes "publicizing" something for the purposes of the law and its consequences.

The Mekomon newspaper is part of the Maariv group, on whose site a Hebrew version of this article first appeared.

Did you find a mistake in the article or inappropriate advertisement? Report to us