Facebook hatches secret Swiss growth plan

Facebook is poised to invest in Switzerland, the social media giant’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says.

Facebook hatches secret Swiss growth plan
Sheryl Sandberg talking at World Economic Forum in January. Photo: World Economic Forum

In an interview with SonntagsZeitung, the Zurich-based German-language newspaper, Sandberg said Facebook is planning to expand into Switzerland after opening offices in other parts of Europe.

“We invest a lot of money in European locations,” Facebook’s chief executive is quoted as saying by the newspaper in an online report published on Sunday.

She noted the company, based in California, has an international headquarters in Ireland and last summer opened a data centre in Sweden.

The social networking company also recently opened an office in Berlin.

And now Switzerland?

“Yes, but when I cannot say,” Sandberg told SonntagsZeitung.

“Nothing is official yet.”

Despite the lack of detail, her words were instantly seized upon by the Swiss media.

Other internet companies have a sizable presence in the mountain country, including Google, which has a major research centre in Zurich, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Sandberg, who has recently penned a bestseller called Lean In, a manifesto for women in the workplace, traveled to Davos in the Swiss canton of Graubünden earlier this year for the annual World Economic Forum conference.

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Swiss court rules defamatory Facebook likes ‘can be illegal’

The Swiss Federal Court has ruled that Facebook likes and shares can be considered as illegal defamation.

Swiss court rules defamatory Facebook likes ‘can be illegal’
Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

The case was hearing a matter from the canton of Zurich says people can in some cases be punished for sharing or liking particular posts on social media, even if they did not create the content themselves. 

The case related to a dispute between animal rights activists from 2015. The perpetrator had liked and shared several posts critical of fellow animal rights activist Erwin Kessler. 

In groups like ‘Vegan in Zurich’ and ‘Indyvegan’, the perpetrator had liked and shared posts which portrayed as a neo-Nazi who harboured anti-Semitic ideas. 

The Zurich court fined the perpetrator saying the social media actions amounted to defamation. The Federal Court on Thursday upheld the verdict. 

While issues related to defamation are relatively unclear on social media – as opposed to through traditional media sources – the court held that the potential for such remarks to go ‘viral’ meant that social media actions could be defamatory in nature. 

Swiss defamation law only requires that an act be communicated to a third party in order for it to be defamatory, with online communication reaching the relevant threshold. 

The court said that it would depend on the circumstances as to whether likes and shares were likely to breach defamation laws, however a major factor was how visible the post was to others outside the immediate friend networks of the person defamed. 

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