Advertisement

Syrian migrant sues after fake news calls him a terrorist on Facebook

German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for a selfie with a migrant from Syria after she visited the AWO Refugium Askanierring shelter for migrants on September 10, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A Syrian refugee in Germany is taking Facebook to court after false reports using his picture circulated on the social media site.

Anas Modamani was seen taking a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in Sept. 2015.

The picture was widely circulated, and was one of the “defining images of the German response to the refugee crisis,” according to The Guardian.

READ MORE: Here’s how Facebook plans to fight fake news

But since then the picture has been used to tie the nineteen-year-old to various terrorist attacks – without any proof.

One picture from March 2016 – still available on Facebook – claims Modamani is one of the terrorists involved in the Brussels bombings.

“Some friends advised that I stay at home and avoid going out in public, which I did.

Story continues below advertisement

“Others encouraged me to go to the police and report what was being said about me,”  he told BBC News.

“But I kind of just hoped it would go away on its own.”

Other posts link him to the Berlin Christmas market attack and an incident in which a homeless person was set on fire in Berlin.

Modamani says Facebook didn’t do enough to take down the incorrect posts, and that’s why he’s taking them to court.

His lawyer Chan-jo Jun called the posts defamatory.

“Every time something happens that has to do with refugees, he is wheeled out as an icon, as Merkel’s model refugee, and smeared with all sorts of criminal acts,” Jun told the Guardian.

“Anis Modamani is now defending himself by making use of his personal rights. No person has to put up with defamation and insinuation.”

READ MORE: Fake news this week: No, California didn’t legalize child prostitution

Facebook has taken down many of the inflammatory pictures, but some still circulate.

Story continues below advertisement

A representative from the company told media that, “Access to that reported content was quickly disabled, so we do not believe there is any basis for him to seek an injunction.”

The case will go to court on Feb. 6. It comes in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and accusations that fake news on the site influenced the results.

Sponsored content