Anti-Islam activist Gary Young is taking Facebook to court for, what he believes, is his quashing his freedom of speech online.
Young – from the NSW regional town of Goulburn – is seeking more than $1 million in damages from the social media giant after it locked him out of his activist Facebook group COMMON CAUSE for three days without warning.
Young is one of two administrators of the the anti-immigrant group whose 2200-plus members call for the banning of halal food, land sales to foreigners and the prevention of people on visas accessing Centrelink payments for more than two kids.
Young said the social media giant was “malicious” in its attempts to shut him out of his group and that it hindered his right to freedom of speech. He also called it “capricious”, “obnoxious” and “vindictive”, just to name a few.
Young has filed documents in the Federal Court, in which Young, who is representing himself, alleges it was a deliberate move by Facebook to curtail his free speech.
“The actions of [Facebook] are arbitrary in the extreme, based on a method of deliberately creating a chilling effect on, and an ABRUPT halt to the use of applicants [sic] Constitutional right to political free speech rights,” his statement reads.
“The actions of [Facebook] are arbitrary, capricious, malicious, obnoxious and vindictive and intended to, and did cause major damage to the applicant.”
Young uses an assumed name on Facebook, Gee Young, but says only some 10 per cent of the members of his group use their real names on Facebook.
A spokeswoman for Facebook quoted in Fairfax Media said the company wasn’t commenting on legal matters, but that it has been increasingly policing its so-called “authentic name” policy.
After it blocked his access to the group, Facebook served Young with a message that said he would not be allowed back into the group until he proved his identity.
Young claims that he sent a copy of his driver’s licence to Facebook and also sent them a copy of the lawsuit he filed in the Federal Court. It was only then, he claims, that he was reinstated as administrator.
He is seeking $1 million in exemplary damages, $50,000 in aggravated damages and costs.
The matter will go to a directions hearing at the Federal Court in Canberra on November 23.