Maxim Ali has commented on the possibility of the Supreme Court suing Facebook in Russia

Maksim Ali Senior Associate

The Supreme Court cancelled the decisions of lower courts, which refused to consider a lawsuit from Russian users against Facebook. The Court emphasized that the dispute concerns the collection of personal data, the blocking and deletion of personal accounts and issues around the use of the social network.

Maxima Ali, Head of IP/IT Practice at Maxima Legal, explained to Advokatskaya Gazeta that the decision to return the statement of claim was extremely controversial and the Supreme Court correctly cancelled it: “The court rightly drew attention to the fact that Facebook distributes advertising among Russian consumers, as well as that the lawsuit is related to the protection of personal data of Russian users. Both factors allow the courts in Russia to consider cases involving foreign persons.”

This definition could be considered a correction of the obvious errors of the lower courts, but it is also notable for other issues. “Firstly, the court cautiously supported the applicant’s position that the place of performance of the user agreement with Facebook is the location of the user. This is a rather important conclusion, since it gives rise to an independent basis for accepting a claim for consideration by a Russian court. Moreover, the question of where the place of performance of the contract is on the internet remains controversial. Due to the nature of the structure of the relationship, it was still unclear whether we should be guided by the location of the Facebook office, their technical capabilities, or the user. It is all the more interesting because the latter option was supported in the decision”, said Maxim.

Secondly, he added, for some reason the Russian Armed Forces focused the attention of the courts on the fact that the user agreement may contain a “proprietary agreement” that does not contradict the law. “The question arises whether this will lead to a repeated unreasonable return of the claim – the Facebook user agreement contains a term for disputes to be heard in US courts”, Maxim emphasized.

However, the potential position that such an agreement would be an obstacle to the consideration of the case in Russia, seems to be controversial. “For example, the possibility of considering cases to protect the rights of personal data subjects in Russian courts has been provided specifically to protect the user as a weak side. It is unlikely that a proprietary agreement should abrogate this, since in fact Russian citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to sue foreign Internet companies for financial reasons,” commented Maxim.

To read the full article (in Russian), please see the Advokatskaya Gazeta website >>>