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Can ‘liking’ a social media post be recognised as an offence in Poland?

Written by
Raczkowski largest boutique firm focusing on HR law.
A Swiss court has ruled that liking social media posts can create legal liability if the post is defamatory. For the time being, however, the Polish courts have not directly addressed this issue.

The Federal Court of Switzerland has determined that, by ‘liking’ a social media post, an individual can be held legally liable. The case in question pertained to an internet user who ‘liked’ and forwarded an offensive post on Facebook propagating right-wing, anti-Semitic content. The court found this person complicit in the violation of personal rights committed by the author of the post.

In the court’s opinion, ‘liking’ a post on a social media platform increases its reach among other users (while posts without ‘likes’ do not have such impact as they are less visible). As a result of liking and sharing, offensive posts reach people who do not support similar content.

Should internet users in Poland be concerned?

With increasing frequency, employers draw negative consequences as a result of employee activity on social media. This is true especially if those activities breach basic employee duties such as caring for the good of the workplace or maintaining confidentiality of potentially damaging information about the employer.

Note that Polish courts have legal grounds for assessing the effects of sharing a defamatory post as the Swiss court did. This means that in the future, a similar judgment may be handed down in Poland as well. The Swiss example shows that all internet users should carefully assess the content they share.