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Sign at the Regional Court of Karlsruhe

Photo: Uli Deck / dpa

The social network X, which used to be called Twitter, has to pay compensation of almost 1400 euros plus interest for the temporary blocking of the account of the blog "The Axis of Good" (Achgut.com). As can be seen from the reasoning of the Karlsruhe Regional Court, from the court's point of view, Twitter has restricted a competitor for its own benefit by blocking it, and the fundamental right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press is also affected.

In their remarks, the judges made it clear that the short message service must distinguish between spam and alleged spam when enforcing its platform rules. The decision was already made in mid-September, and now the reasons for the verdict have become known.

According to the court, the background to the dispute was that from the summer of 2022, some users of the Twitter service at the time allegedly sent a large number of boycott calls to companies that had advertised on the blog. Achgut defended himself against this with tweets. Twitter had interpreted this as a violation of its "policy on platform manipulation and spam" and then blocked Achgut's account. After a restraining order was issued, the account was reactivated in October 2022. The judges now had to decide on the platform's objection to the decision.

From the point of view of Achgut lawyer Joachim Steinhöfel, the court has declared "self-defense against concerted boycott calls with the aim of weakening or eliminating the 'axis'" to be permissible. The decision is therefore important for the enforcement of press freedom on social media," he said on Monday.

According to the ruling, however, not every commercial X user is in a competitive relationship with the platform. "The board, however, does not assume that this idea can be generalized in that sense," it said.