Facebook posts not directed to public
A Facebook user posted a threat on his account stating that he would exterminate everybody. The post ended with the words "POW!!!! POW!!!! POW!!!!" and could be viewed by his 290 Facebook 'friends'.
The prosecutor found the user guilty of causing fear and alarm among the population according to Article 258 of the Criminal Code and issued a penalty order.
The user opposed the penalty order and the Criminal Court and the Zurich Court of Appeal confirmed the condemnation according to Article 258. However, the Federal Supreme Court reversed the decision, as it found that Facebook 'friends' cannot be considered as the 'population' (ie, the inhabitants of a certain region), in the sense of Article 258 of the Criminal Code.
As a new communication model, Facebook obliges the courts to interpret existing legal dispositions from a new angle. However, the biggest challenge remains the Internet's international dimension, which must be governed by national regulations. The enforceability of cybercrime and cyberactivity is thus limited and depends on the legal framework and willingness of prosecutors in different jurisdictions to cooperate.
For further information on this topic please contact David F Känzig or Katia Favre at Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte by telephone (+41 44 421 45 45) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com). The Thouvenin Rechtsanwälte website can be accessed atwww.thouvenin.com.
Source: International Law Office.