Facebook France French Court

Facebook: French courts are competent to rule over a user’s complaint despite exclusive US jurisdiction in Facebook terms

Your contact

A French school teacher filed a lawsuit against Facebook in Paris after the social network had blocked his account in 2011. The reason to inactivate the account was a post of a picture of Gustave Courbet’s famous painting „L’Origine du Monde“ – a depiction of nude female intimacy from the 19th century. In its recent decision, the Parisian appellate court held that French courts are competent to decide on the matter although Facebook’s terms provide for exclusive jurisdiction of US-courts.

Facebook had argued that it may restrict the display of nudity based on their terms and conditions (“T&C”). After many unsuccessful requests asking for the reactivation of his account, Monsieur Durand-Baïssas filed a lawsuit against Facebook for the violation of his right to free speech and claimed that he must be allowed to upload a picture of the painting. Facebook argued that French courts are not competent to rule on the dispute. Facebook particularly invoked its T&Cs providing that any claim related to Facebook shall be exclusively resolved in the US and that the law of California (US) shall prevail without regards to conflict of law provisions. According to Facebook mandatory French consumer laws do not apply to because Facebooks worldwide service is free of charge.

In a decision dated March 5 2015, the Paris Court of First Instance (4ème chambre deuxième section du tribunal de grande instance de Paris) rejected Facebook ’s arguments and held a violation of consumer law and that the concerned Section of Facebook’s Terms of Service was ”unfair”.

On April 16, 2015 Facebook appealed against the decision to the Paris appeal court. On February 12, 2016 the appellate court ruled that consumer laws apply to the service of Facebook: The fact that the basic service to the user is free of charge allows Facebook to offer billable applications and charge third-party clients for advertising (Article 15 EC No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000). As consumer laws apply to the contract, a consumer may bring proceedings against the other party to a contract either in the courts of the Member State in which that party is domiciled or in the courts for the place where the consumer is domiciled (Article 16 EC No 44/2001 of 22 December 2000).

Based on the French “Code de la consummation” (Article L132-1 and R132-2), the Paris court of appeal deemed Facebook ’s terms of service regarding dispute resolution “unfair” as Facebook makes it difficult for users in France to exercise and enforce their rights.

The “Arrêt du 12 février n°2016-58” is expected to open the way for further claims against Facebook outside of the U.S., at least for more than 20 million of French Facebook users.

Weitere Informationen:

Ansprechpartner: Lukas Bühlmann

Share post

most read


MLL Legal

MLL Legal is one of the leading law firms in Switzerland with offices in Zurich, Geneva, Zug, Lausanne, London and Madrid. We advise our clients in all areas of business law and stand out in particular for our first-class industry expertise in technical-innovative specialist areas, but also in regulated industries.

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep


Much is still unclear in relation to liability questions around AI tools.

Read our latest post about “Liability during the Lifecycle of an AI Tool” and download our white paper.

Show article.

Our Story

MLL Legal is a leading Swiss law firm with a history that dates back to 1885. The firm has grown both organically and by means of strategic mergers, the latest of which took place on 1st July 2021 between Meyerlustenberger Lachenal and FRORIEP.

The merger establishes MLL Legal, a combined new entity as one of the largest commercial law firms in Switzerland with 150 lawyers in four offices in Switzerland and two offices abroad, in London and Madrid serving clients seeking Swiss law advice.

Our firm has a strong international profile and brings together recognised leadership and expertise in all areas of law affecting commerce today, with a focus on high-tech, innovative and regulated sectors. 

About us


Click here for our latest publications


Read all our legal updates on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses.

COVID-19 Information

Job openings

Looking for a new challenge?

Our talented and ambitious teams are motivated by a common vision to succeed. We value open and straightforward communication accross all levels of the organisation in a supportive working environment.

Job openings

Firm News

Click here for our latest firm news.

Our Team

The regulatory and technological landscape continually require businesses to adapt and evolve.
Our 150+ lawyers are continuously innovating and striving for improvement in everything they do. We embrace new ideas and technologies, combining our wealth of expertise with creative thinking and diligence. With our hands-on approach, we implement viable solutions for the most complex legal challenges.

Our Team.

LexCast – the podcast series by MLL NexGen

Smart legal education on the go. The LexCast hosted by MLL NexGen provides legal insights in a short format that allows listeners to educate themselves on and about legal issues wherever they are and whenever they find the time.

Listen to our podcast series – stay tuned.

MLL Legal on Social Media

Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter und Instagram.