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Canada Strikes Again: Allows Lawsuit Against Twitter To Proceed Over Speech Of Twitter Users

from the not-this-again dept

Canada, despite being our friendly neighbor to the north, has been known to have some not great laws regarding speech. Over the years, we've covered a few too many distressing lawsuits that attack speech, including by going after intermediaries rather than the speakers themselves. While sometimes (but not always), Canadian courts eventually get to the right decision, it's often many years later, and after a whole lot of censorial nonsense.

It's happening yet again. A Canadian businessman, Frank Giustra, is mad at Twitter. He's really mad at some idiots on Twitter who claimed he was somehow tied into Pizzagate because he's done some philanthropic work with the Clinton Foundation, but it's turned into a lawsuit against Twitter itself -- because silly people continually want to go after the intermediary, rather than the speaker. Obviously, in the US, any such case would be dead in the water, because common sense, the 1st Amendment, and Section 230 would all protect Twitter. Unfortunately, Canadian courts have none of those three to rely on. So, back in 2019, Giustra sued Twitter in Canada, and not the silly people who may have actually defamed him. Because why go after the actual speakers, when you can go after the tools they use?

Twitter had argued that Canada has no jurisdiction over the case, and it should be filed in California (where it would be tossed out immediately). Unfortunately, earlier this year, a court sided with Giustra over Twitter and now the appeals court has now ruled that Giustra's lawsuit against Twitter can move forward, upholding the original decision. The full ruling is difficult to read without repeatedly wanting to scream about how dumb it is, but that's what happens when you have no real intermediary liability protections, and people want to go after websites instead of actual speakers.

What happened in this case was that a bunch of stupid, ignorant people said ridiculously stupid stuff about Giustra online as part of the Pizzagate nonsense, a precursor to today's metastasized Q-anon conspiracy theory. Giustra was (understandably!) upset about this and alerted Twitter about how people were spewing nonsense about him. Twitter then actually took down the vast majority of the tweets in question, and made most of the rest unviewable in Canada. But then Giustra, who lives in both California and Canada decided to engage in some libel tourism, seeking out the friendliest jurisdiction to go after Twitter: and that's Canada. As the ruling itself notes:

In this case, Twitter submits, a careful examination demonstrates that the presumptive factor here does not point to any real relationship between the subject matter of the litigation and British Columbia as the forum. Whatever connection there may be between British Columbia and the subject matter of the complaint, Twitter asserts, it is anything but substantial.

In this regard, it points out that Mr. Giustra has a residence not only in West Vancouver, BC, but also one in Beverly Hills, California, and the tweets of which he complains were overwhelmingly posted by Americans about United States topics, particularly in reference to the 2016 US election and the connections between Mr. Giustra and the Clintons. Twitter says that Mr. Giustra’s pleadings did not single out British Columbia as a place of harm, and he filed no evidence that located any particular harm in British Columbia. In Twitter’s submission, the Sikhs for Justice case establishes that a plaintiff is obliged to lead evidence of harm to reputation in his chosen forum if he wishes to meet the case of a defendant who is seeking to rebut the presumption, and the judge erred in distinguishing that case as he did.

Twitter further asserts that, unlike the defendants in Haaretz (where jurisdiction was found not to have been rebutted), it did not choose to create content about the plaintiff. Twitter merely provided the platform and cannot reasonably be expected to be aware of the reputation and location of any given person mentioned on its platform. Moreover, contrary to the judge’s finding, Twitter maintains, the correspondence directed to Twitter on his behalf did not alert Twitter to concern about reputational harm in BC.

Giustra's response to this seems incredibly silly. He argues that because Twitter made the content available in Canada, that's enough to say it proactively was subjecting itself to Canadian libel laws. That's a completely nonsensical argument on a (mostly) borderless internet:

As to Twitter’s submission that it could not reasonably have been expected to be aware of the reputation or location of any particular person mentioned in tweets because it did not create the content, Mr. Giustra points out that Twitter chose to make the content of its platform available worldwide—including Canada—and must be taken to have understood that defamation law may expose it to jeopardy in jurisdictions other than California. Moreover, Twitter continued to publish defamatory tweets after Mr. Giustra and his lawyers brought them to its attention. From that point on, Twitter had actual knowledge of Mr. Giustra’s connection to British Columbia and Canada.

The court, playing to the home crowd, accepts Giustra's argument.

Here, Twitter submits, although the correspondence brought the existence of allegedly defamatory tweets to its attention, nothing in the communications suggested a connection with British Columbia. Consequently, in Twitter’s submission, it would not have known of Mr. Giustra’s connection to British Columbia, and would have no reason to expect to be sued in that jurisdiction.

In my view, there is no merit to this proposition. The correspondence in question comprised two letters from Mr. Giustra’s Toronto solicitors concerning “abusive Twitter posts”, and one letter with attachments directly from Mr. Giustra on the letterhead of Fiore Financial Corporation in Vancouver.

So, apparently the letterhead is key to putting you on notice that you might be dragged into a Canadian court.

Twitter further argued that California is clearly the more appropriate forum, but again, the Canadian court says Canada wins, basically just saying that the lower court did enough under the law to say that Canada was the right jurisdiction.

Then there's the important jurisdiction shopping point that Twitter raised. It highlighted to the court that such a case would clearly fail in the US, and thus it was only being brought in Canada to avoid that fate. The court here basically said that Twitter's free speech protections in the US... are even more of a reason that Canada is the proper venue. That's... eye-opening, but certainly fits with earlier rulings in which Canada has demanded US companies block content globally, with no concern to free speech considerations as applied to other countries.

A question arises as to whether the circumstance of Twitter’s immunity under US law is properly analysed as a question of applicable law, or of juridical advantage. The judge approached it primarily as a question of juridical advantage, and the parties argued it on that basis. But the judge also dealt with the effect of Twitter’s immunity in California as relevant to the factor of applicable law.

The court then says that because Canada has a much weaker and different intermediary liability protection law, it's as if Canada has its own Section 230.

As Twitter was at pains to point out, should it be obliged to proceed to trial in British Columbia, it will raise the defence that, in law, it cannot properly be considered a publisher of tweets read in British Columbia (or anywhere else) that it did not author or create, and accordingly will need to bring a number of witnesses to British Columbia to assist it in that regard.

This is the same defence that is afforded to it in California by the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The difference is that in California, Twitter will be in a position to have Mr. Giustra’s claim summarily dismissed on the basis of that defence, while in British Columbia, it will have only the opportunity to persuade a court that the defence is available to it on the merits. Consequently, as a substantive matter, the defence is notionally available in both jurisdictions. Procedurally, however, it is a defence that is arguable in British Columbia, but is bound to succeed in California. In this sense, it can be properly considered under the factor of juridical advantage.

As I understand Twitter’s argument, it does not really matter under which circumstance the matter of Twitter’s immunity is analysed. Either way, the effect of US law should be given little weight in the forum non conveniens comparative analysis and the judge’s approach offended the underlying principle of comity. I agree with Twitter to this extent: whether the matter of its immunity under US law should be considered as a circumstance of applicable law or juridical advantage need not be resolved on this appeal. It is a relevant circumstance, and one that must be considered in the context of comity.

Except, the fact that under 230 such cases are "summarily dismissed" is the key point of Section 230, procedurally ending silly mis-targeted cases before they get ridiculously expensive for the defendant. So, the Canadian's court's dismissal of this point as if it's only slightly different ignores the entire rationale for Section 230.

The court then flat out admits that under US law, courts would never enforce a ruling in Canada, but basically shrugs, and says that's no reason not to try:

While courts in the United States are prohibited from respecting and enforcing any order made against Twitter in Canada, that is not so of Canadian courts in relation to any order pronounced in the United States. As the Equustek Solutions Inc v Google Inc litigation demonstrated, the courts in the United States are legislatively prohibited from respecting the different constitutional and legal approach in Canada, notwithstanding our shared values.

But that does not make proceeding in British Columbia a pointless exercise, for Mr. Giustra would at least have the opportunity to obtain a judgment vindicating his reputation (see Banro at para 45)—an opportunity denied from the outset in California.

The advantage-disadvantage balance that Twitter relies on is accordingly unequal between the jurisdictions and tilts in favour of British Columbia. In BC, Mr. Giustra would have the opportunity to establish his claim and vindicate his reputation; in California he would not. But Twitter would be in a position to raise the defence of lack of publication in either jurisdiction. In British Columbia, it would be a matter of argument; in California, its success would be a foregone conclusion.

And thus, this silly case moves forward. It's possible that Twitter will still win in the end, but once again this ruling highlights just how important Section 230 is. It gets rid of these mistargeted, silly lawsuits upfront. Giustra remains free to sue the actual people who he claims defamed him. He has chosen not to do so, and instead focused on Twitter. That, alone, is silly, and it makes a mockery of common sense for Canadian courts to allow it to move forward.

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Filed Under: canada, defamation, frank giustra, free speech, intermediary liability, jurisdiction, pizzagate, section 230, speech act
Companies: twitter


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 9:58am

    and then Twitter has to again sue for reimbursement of expenses afterwards?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 16 Dec 2021 @ 10:43am

    Hmmm...

    In Canada, generally, the losing party pays winner's legal bills. This limits the number of frivolous lawsuits, unless like ex-con Conrad Black, yo follow the Trump playbook and happily sue and drag it out knowing your case is weak, just to drive the other party into the ground.

    The problem is that in Canada, judges are appointed by the government, so their appeal to politicians in charge overwhelms the selection of intelligent judges. The only system worse than this would be electing judges by the population at large. Or, like some countries, combining these choices.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rico R. (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 11:12am

      Re: Hmmm...

      The problem is that in Canada, judges are appointed by the government...

      That's also true in the US. Any federal court that would have jurisdiction for this kind of case in the US was appointed by the President of the United States at the time, and then confirmed by the US Senate. Unless you're somehow arguing POTUS and Senators are not a part of the US government, I'm not seeing your point here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Devonavar, 16 Dec 2021 @ 11:09am

    Who is forum shopping here anyway?

    I think we can agree that Giustra doesn't have a case here — in B.C. or California.

    The rest of the article just seems like butthurt that America doesn't get to set the rules for the rest of the world. Which — sorry — after witnessing the last decade of American politics, the idea that America is uniquely positioned to protect the internet for the world is long gone.

    We are going to have to deal with the thorny jurisdictional issues of where "online" activity happens, and the default answer is not America.

    If Giustra is truly a B.C. resident (which seems questionable), he should absolutely be able to get relief from B.C. courts. Not everyone has the luxury of owning mansions in West Vancouver and Beverly Hills, but just even if Giustra is not a sympathetic plaintiff that doesn't the courts should ignore him. I would very much like to have assurance that, when I interact with Twitter in B.C., I'm protected by things like B.C. privacy law even if that means giving millionaires like Giustra a chance to shop around.

    Is Giustra forum shopping? Maybe he is. But so is Twitter — that's the whole point of the court's discussion about juridical advantage: Twitter wants to hear the case where it is advantageous to Twitter. Giustra wants to hear it where it advantageous to him. So how should we decide? The court's analysis of analogous laws seems as good an approach as any.

    Is B.C.'s third-party liaibility law equivalent to Section 230? Not exactly, but that's not the point.

    No, B.C.'s intermediary liability doesn't allow for early dismissal. But, B.C.'s court system also doesn't allow for such expansive discovery, and it awards costs to the winner, which helps keep nuisance lawsuits under control. The reason why S230's procedure benefit matters in the U.S. is irrelevant in B.C., because Twitter can genuinely win on the merits and not be out of pocket.

    You want to talk about silly legal systems? Start by looking at the US system which allows unlimited discovery and doesn't automatically award costs. Then look at the complete lack of a functional US privacy law (something that actually exists in B.C.)

    And when you're done, maybe consider that things don't work like they do in California everywhere else, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    You can keep Giustra though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Who is forum shopping here anyway?

      When Canada has allowed individual law suites to drive all social media, self publishing and comment allowing sites out of Canada, that is the Geo-Block Canada, what Internet will be left to Canadians?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Devonavar, 16 Dec 2021 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: Who is forum shopping here anyway?

        I wouldn't worry about individual lawsuits; the federal government's proposals to regulate social media will do that long before civil suits.

        Point being, jurisdictional issues are hard. They always have been. There was a time (not long after Lawrence Lessig wrote "Code") when I believed that the global nature of the internet would stay out of reach of local laws. That time is long past. Local jurisdictions are asserting themselves worldwide. China is barely part of the global internet, and Russia and other states are rapidly balkianizing the internet.

        We aren't getting away without some form of local regulation. And, no, the rest of the world isn't delegating that to US law; the US has long since lost its moral authority to do that.

        What we can do is try and make sure that the local laws that inevitably get made respect the resources and scope of the people and companies who live worldwide, and who interact across borders.

        That means limiting things like extradition (hello Assange!), perhaps accepting the reality that Geoblocking may be the least bad option to allow local jurisdictions to function globally (not to mention the fact that it's already widespread), and accepting the fact that you don't always get your choice of venue for your lawsuit.

        I don't pretend to have this issue solved; I'm only grudgingly accepting the fact that we can't just let the internet exist outside of local laws and lawsuits. But, unless we somehow create (and — the hard part — agree on) a global government that can adjudicate lawsuits worldwide, we are going to have to deal with lawsuits in foreign jurisdictions.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 1:57pm

      Re: Who is forum shopping here anyway?

      If Giustra is truly a B.C. resident (which seems questionable), he should absolutely be able to get relief from B.C. courts.

      No, you still have to prove you have standing in your venue of choice, meaning you have to demonstrate harm. Otherwise, I can buy a shack in China and sue anyone there even if my reputation in China is totally non-existent. That's not how this all works.

      In this case, the plaintiff showed that 1. he has residence in BC and 2. he notified Twitter of his residence in BC (through letter with a heading that includes his BC address, which is pretty weak but might count if the judge is already inclined to accommodate the plaintiff). That's all. Nothing about how his reputation in BC will be harmed by deleted and geo-blocked conspiracy-theory tweets. Just "I live in BC (sometimes) and I told Twitter just that." Omitting that Twitter did act on this notice... even if it's not doing enough by Giustra's standards.

      Is Giustra forum shopping? Maybe he is. But so is Twitter [...]

      Maybe? No: definitely. Which wouldn't be a problem if he had proper standing in BC. Venue shopping is not evil in itself, unless it's based on legal standards rather than the merits of the case.
      As for Twitter, as far as I'll admit that they're also trying to do their own venue shopping, I see them as having more standing in CA than in BC because everything points there: Twitter's location, Twitter's TOS, Giustra's residence in California, the content of the tweets being all about US, the posters likely being in the US (to be confirmed though), and Twitter's actions deleting some tweets and geo-blocking the other tweets from being visible in BC. (Not that geo-blocking is absolute, but it does limit the scope of their impact.)

      If you allow venue shopping without clear standing, rich men will buy homes in countries with little to no free speech protection and launch their attacks from there. That is definitely not ok by any standard, except those of censorious thin-skinned rich guys. And that means the Internet will only be as free as the country with the least free speech protection will allow. Or worse if you consider that all the restrictions of all countries will apply. China's ban on Tiananmen history, Germany's ban on nazi symbols, etc. All will apply. That's why standing matters.

      There are more debatable cases, but this one is pretty clear in comparison.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Devonavar, 16 Dec 2021 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: Who is forum shopping here anyway?

        And ... uh ... this entire article is about how Giustra just proved standing the BC Court, and the BC Court accepted his argument.

        So, yes, this is exactly how it works.

        I certainly agree the Giustra looks a bit like a scheister, and I don't expect he will get too far in B.C. But your complaint isn't about whether he has standing. He does, and he just went to court to prove it. You may disagree about what constitutes proper standing, but this issue doesn't hinge on whether or not he needs to prove standing in the first place; he does, and he did.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 17 Dec 2021 @ 10:22am

          Re: Re: Re: Who is forum shopping here anyway?

          Yes, an appellate court has decided it has jurisdiction. The Article references this conclusion. Id argue the article is about how that is questionable under applicable jurisprudence (i.e. international liability jurisprudence, contract law jurisprudence, and the principle that standing requires the court to have authority to enforce judgement). We can accept a ruling was made, and argue the ruling is logically incoherent. And indeed, I can show the court has ruled it doesn't have jurisdiction under normal questions of jurisdiction, but has abandoned those.

          The court knows it can't hold twitter accountable, that Twitter will succeed on a claim that the court can not hold Twitter responsible under BC law. It has said as much. Even if the court has personal and subject matter jurisdiction over Giustra and Twitter, but that does not exhaust the questions of jurisdiction. Under the previously existing rules of Jurisdiction, jurisdiction includes the question "whether there is jurisdiction to render the particular judgment sought."

          The court has argued itself it has no power to render the monetary judgement sought as there is no mechanism in law to hold twitter liable, and can not rule on the question if the content of the original tweets was defamatory, therefore his reputation can not be properly vindicated by the court. Claiming jurisdiction over a matter you can not render judgement on because no adversarial a judication is possible without the original speakers defending their claims is a new judicial creation, deserving of critique, criticism, and questions of propriety.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 11:43am

    More proof that "other countries don't have Section 230" only means that they should.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 12:03pm

    Choices

    There is a simple defense.
    As with any newspaper, apologize and erase the comment made by that other person.

    What may happen, is proving Facts. Which isnt easy if you were not involved in the situation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nathan F (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 1:07pm

    SPEECH Act?

    Does the SPEECH act only apply to individuals or does Twitter have to lose and then claim immunity to fines and fees under the SPEECH Act?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 1:51pm

    Mr. Giustra would at least have the opportunity to obtain a judgment vindicating his reputation

    How so, Court?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 2:35pm

    'Yeah but the light is better over here.'

    Gotta love Steve Dallas lawsuits and forum shopping.

    'Everyone involved is in the US but Twitter is a richer/easier target and Canada has worse intermediary protections so I'm gonna sue the company in Canada.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 3:36pm

    But that does not make proceeding in British Columbia a pointless exercise, for Mr. Giustra would at least have the opportunity to obtain a judgment vindicating his reputation (see Banro at para 45)—an opportunity denied from the outset in California.

    If Mr. Giustra was, in fact, concerned about his reputation, he has the opportunity to sue the people who disparaged said reputation in either California or British Columbia. There is no US or California law which would deny him said opportunity.

    But of course, Mr. Giustra is also aware that even the combined wealth of all of those reputation disparagers would not produce more than a rounding error in his bank account.

    It appears that, far from being concerned about his reputation, he's just concerned about Twitter's bank account. Mostly about how it doesn't belong to him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 4:15pm

    Even if he wins a case in Canada he can't get money from twitter an American company as its protected by section 230 it's forum shopping cos twitter is based in the USA, Canada should not be trying to enforce its laws on American companys no more than Iran can sue a Canadian citizen for criticising the Iranian government for its human rights violations it works both ways if Canada wsnts to go to extremes it could block certain twitter accounts or twitter apps
    This case shows the importance of section 230
    It allows people and services to permit free speech without
    getting destroyed by random legal cases
    The best he can hope for is a declaration that he was defamed
    Canada is a western country it should recognise the importance of Internet services and the right to free speech
    online , does it really think Every company on planet earth or Web app has to follow Canadian law?
    Russian or Chinese search engines apps European, French apps or online services?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 6:38pm

    As above rich men could buy a house in the UK or Turkey and use those country's outdated laws to attack websites services apps by causing them to spend money on legal actions defence lawyers if a service is based in the USA it should not be at the mercy of legal actions from other country's that's the purpose of the Speech act to protect free speech for American citizens and online services

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2021 @ 6:39pm

    Yawn. When will America realize that it doesn't get to make the rules for Internet for rest of the world? Fuck America's legal imperialism. Is it not enough that America exported its fucked-up copyright system to Canada? Let the Canadians decide this matter in their own unique Canadian way. We don't need more America-made solutions here, thank you

    It was the Americans' idea to integrate our economic system with theirs and now after we started to integrate, they decide to pull the rug out under us and screw us over trade and pull apart our integrated economic system by this Buy America Act that make no allowance for Canada or our integrated auto industry. And now you want us to coordinate or integrate our legal system with yours? Want to bet your government will screw us over in this area as well? Oh yeah they did already. We remember America's lack of support for us after China retaliated against us for us doing America a favor and standing up for our legal treaty with America in the matter of Meng Wanzhou. No thanks. Do not do us more favours.

    We can solve our own problems in our backyard in our own way and we ask our American "friends" to leave out of it, we don't need you siccing your wishy-washy government or your dirty corporate lobbyists on us to push your ways on us. We have enough of your meddling in our political and legal systems. If for some dumb reason, we decide this guy has standing and this matter pertains us, that's our business. We'll deal with this shit in our own way, just stay out, Americans. We don't want more of you deciding our rules for us or ruling for us. We have enough of you lording over us, our dear neighbor of south. We can make our own rules, and you can stay out of it,and if you dont like our rules, suck it up like you expect us with yours in the area of trade and copyrights.
    Fuck your legal imperialism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 7:57pm

      Re:

      Just curious, do you plan on stopping huffing paint, or should we expect more comments like that from you in the future?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Strawb (profile), 17 Dec 2021 @ 1:22am

      Re:

      We can solve our own problems in our backyard in our own way

      But given that your own way is stupid, as this case shows, expect to be criticized for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 4:34am

      Re:

      1A and Section 230 are great examples of good laws, thpugh.

      And if you really hate America that much, do your due diligence and NOT VOTE IN SHITDICKS LIKE HARPER.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re:

        I agree section 230 is not a bad law and would like to see a similar law in Canada.
        Didn't vote for Harper's Conservatives myself. The large majority of Canadians didnt vote for him either
        He was never popular. In 2008 I think he was elected in the lowest turnout in Canadian electoral history and he only won a minority government. When he won his first and only majority government in 2011. slightly under 40% voted for his party. The turnout was about 60% so only about a quarter of us Canadian eligible voters voted for him. and Harper's party got so many votes just because many people did not want to vote the even more unpopular Liberals and were loathe to embrace the only other viable alternative, the socialist NDP.
        I don't really hate America; just what some things America does to Canada and dont want America meddling more in our politics or with our economic and legal systems. We are too close and we are being burnt for it.
        Trudeau's late father said this about America: Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt,"
        We don't need more of your grunts at us and inviting the elephant that is America to wake up and trample us more.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 17 Dec 2021 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      None of this relates to the question of why a US resident, Criticized by (the court presumes) US residents, about supposed actions taken in the US, relating to US politics and US political movements, should be able to sue a US company whom he is contractually bound to sue in the US in BC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 7:56pm

        Re: Re:

        he may be contractually bound to sue in US in the US but is he also contractually bound in Canada? U.S. contract laws about suing better not apply in Canada. And if he's a valid BC resident he is entitled to use BC courts. Besides that, yes, I do not understand the logic either as well.

        however are we entitled to make our own mistakes in Canada? It is not like the guy is going to win anyways. It's Loser-pays-legal-costs system here so Twitter is not likely to going to be hurt here, and good thing could come out of it like an important precedent could be established in BC to settle some important legal questions like yours. I'm expecting and rooting for Twitter to win.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 10:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Shhh honey, the adults are talking.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2021 @ 1:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh please. quit with the Trump-style insults, and grow up. You don't like what I say, too bad, suck it up. Infantile American-style of smearing politics can stay south of the border with American legal imperialism. We are more civilized and more mature here. Smearing is for losers like Trump and you. We have no place for it in Canada.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Dec 2021 @ 10:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          however are we entitled to make our own mistakes in Canada?

          And non-Canadians are entitled to criticize those mistakes, just as you are entitled to go over a laundry list of grievances against the US.

          It is not like the guy is going to win anyways.

          There might have been a time when people were, perhaps, more likely to see cases that were decided on merits instead of emotionally based arguments. This is... not really the case anymore, especially where large corporations and social media platforms are involved. It has become the "in" thing to look like you're "tough on Big Tech" or "reining in the power of Facebook". Appearing like you're cracking down on the "downsides of large communicating forums like Twitter" or something earns you lots of social and political capital.

          For one, the courts in Australia allowed this guy Milorad Truklja to sue Google because his face appeared in a photograph on a news website - because it was profiling gangsters, and Milorad's face happened to be passing by in one photo. Milorad sued Google on claims of "defamation", not the publishers who put out the article, and the courts allowed him to go after the search engine. It's an example frequently trotted out by anti-Section 230 trolls to justify their position, and an excessively stupid case that really only succeeded the initial stages because of the "fuck Google" angle.

          Now I don't mean that Twitter is likely to lose this case - but the thing about nuisance lawsuits is that there's very little to gain from winning those either. Even if this guy loses, someone's going to pounce on it and demand more government intervention on the grounds that it's hard for an individual to file a lawsuit against "big Tech" - even if the lawsuit's basis is terrible.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 21 Dec 2021 @ 8:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          A court should not be entertaining cases where the plaintiff has no chance of winning. My entire argument was that the court has admitted there is no ability to render judgement against twitter, and under that basis there is not standing.

          The precedent the court has set is that the court no longer needs to consider its ability to render judgement against twitter to establihs standing. An important legal question was settled. It was settled in a bad way. Take this precident and apply it to someone smaller than twitter and the issues a defense pose hopefully become obvious. Legal trolling works by forcing discovery and a trial on the opponent to force them to fold. Just because twitter is big doesn't mean forcing them to defend this suit is a good thing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Dec 2021 @ 7:24pm

    I am waiting for a lawyer to finally get fed up & ask the court...
    'If the bank robber drove away in a Ford, the rulings here suggest that there is a cause of action against Ford. How does this make sense?'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 1:57am

      Ford, aiding and abetting

      Has not any court ever spelled out the difference, assuming there is any difference? Surely some lawyer somewhere has raised the analogue already?

      Can it be merely that Ford is not quite as dominant, nowadays, in transportation as Twitter is in on-line speech?

      Or, if the difference is only that Twitter could, in principle, moderate harder, then Ford could, in principle, limit the speed of their vehicles and so prevent successful use of Ford vehicles in robberies. Why not demand that they do that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 8:49am

        Re: Ford, aiding and abetting

        Can it be merely that Ford is not quite as dominant, nowadays, in transportation as Twitter is in on-line speech?

        Twitter controls almost exactly the same share of the online speech market as Ford controls of the vehicle market...

        (technically less, since social media is only a part of online speech, but who's counting?)

        ...than Ford could, in principle, limit the speed of their vehicles and so prevent successful use of Ford vehicles in robberies.

        In principle, Ford could trivially limit the speed of their vehicles. That's what the transmission does, and they have one in every vehicle.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Dec 2021 @ 7:18pm

        Re: Ford, aiding and abetting

        "Twitter could, in principle, moderate harder"

        So blocking all of the content from appearing in Canada wasn't enough?
        Deleting some posts were not enough.
        Suspending accounts was not enough.
        Exactly what is enough?

        Rather than suing the people saying the bad things about him, he is suing the thing they used to say these things.
        If I put a poster on a light pole with the pizzagate content about this person he can sue the local hydro provider?

        Twitter did not write the content, yet they are being held responsible for it being posted.
        The people who actually wrote it aren't being sued, just the company with the deep pockets, in a country willing to allow legal tourism because he was unsatisfied with Twitter not devoting every possible resource to protect his reputation (which given QAnon has targeted him, Twitter is only 1 of a few hundred places they are posting about him eating children.).

        Of course if Twitter did the smart thing & removed him from the platform to protect him from the evil evil content he'd have a problem with that too.

        "Why not demand that they do that?"
        For the same fscked up reasoning that keeps americans from suing gun makers when their weapons are used in mass shootings.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2021 @ 8:21am

    i really didn't think there were any courts more stupid than here in USA or any as stupid judges to reside over them! seems i was totally wrong!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2021 @ 1:23am

    Re: because silly people continually want to go after the intermediary

    So….go after that one guy who blew up a market with the suicide vest, rather than the guys in the laundry van who dropped him off?

    Hmmmm…..seems fuzzy.

    Corporations should be sued for bad products that allow, or contribute to harm, just as we would pursue the guys in that van

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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