In a major victory for Facebook, a U.S. Court has ruled that it can block content without any explanation after a Sikh group filed a lawsuit challenging the blocking of its social media page, writes Lalit K. Jha. #Facebook, @Siliconeer

The ruling by the U.S. Court in San Francisco came in response to a lawsuit filed against Silicon Valley-based Facebook by Sikhs for Justice, which alleged that their Facebook page, which advocated Sikh separatism, was blocked by the social media giant.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in her Nov. 13 ruling stated that the Sikh group’s claims of religious discrimination are precluded under the Communications Decency Act, which protects providers of “interactive computer services” by barring courts from treating service providers like Facebook as the publishers or speakers of speech created by others.

“We will appeal and challenge the decision of Judge Koh which is just an extension of Facebook’s action of blocking SFJ’s page at the behest of the Indian government,” alleged attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to SFJ.

“Facebook is an American corporation and owes allegiance to U.S. Constitution which promotes and protects free speech content and not accede to threats of foreign governments but Judge Koh’s ruling failed to cover any of the allegations of SFJ,” he said.

“If Facebook is a public company making billions of dollars in public money and they don’t want to give any explanation for why they blocked the content of a human rights group, then what is the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship?” he asked.

In a statement, Pannun said that Judge Koh should have at least ordered that the social media giant give SFJ an explanation as to who ordered the take down.

“Facebook owes an explanation to its users after or before blocking and removing the content which is guaranteed under freedom of speech,” he said.