LinkedIn ordered to restore Dutch MP’s profile, but coronavirus posts can be deleted
Parliamentarian Wybren van Haga can get his LinkedIn profile back. The court in Haarlem ruled that the network must admit him again within three working days. Van Haga asked for this in summary proceedings filed after LinkedIn removed his profile for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
The court decided that LinkedIn does not have to put back the nine deleted posts, and rectification must stay on the profile. Van Haga also demanded that.
LinkedIn's lawyers argued during the trial that Van Haga's posts included both opinions and medical claims without scientific substantiation. Van Haga's account was previously temporarily suspended. Last year, LinkedIn temporarily blocked the account of pollster Maurice de Hond. The platform said on Wednesday that it was "disappointed" with the ruling and is considering appealing.
"It's great that the judge decided to scrap the disproportionate measure and ordered LinkedIn to put my profile back,' Van Haga responded to the ruling on Wednesday. "A victory for free speech, a victory for democracy where representatives of the people should be able to say what they think."
The judge ruled that platforms like LinkedIn "may in principle act against the spread of misinformation." It is "not unreasonable" that LinkedIn uses authoritative bodies like the RIVM and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a guideline. But the court also established that LinkedIn has hardly written about its policy in this area and thus does not sufficiently inform the network's user. LinkedIn only mandates that a user not post content that wholly violates guidelines set by leading health organizations and government agencies. The judge found the boundary between such content and posts with critical comments on those guidelines unclear.
LinkedIn did not communicate well enough about the objections to Van Haga's posts, the judge ruled. It merely referred to the user agreement and did not explain why the posts were considered disinformation.
The judge ruled in favor of Linked in on the nine deleted posts which made claims amounting to "harmful misinformation."
Reporting by ANP.