Media Advisory: California Court to Hear Arguments on Facebook Defamation Case

November 1, 2023

On November 2, Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín of the United States District Court, Northern District of California, will hear oral arguments in Mahoney v. Facebook, a case addressing free speech rights and defamation by social media executives.

In these oral arguments, the Liberty Justice Center will defend Genevieve Mahoney’s case and argue against Facebook’s Motion to Dismiss and Anti-SLAPP Motion.

WHO: Buck Dougherty, Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center

WHEN: November 2, 2023, at 2:00 PM PDT

WHERE: San Francisco Courthouse, 19th Floor, Courtroom 10, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102

HOW: Members of the press and public can listen to live audio of the hearing. Instructions for joining the livestream are available here: Courtroom Audio Streaming | Judge Araceli Martínez-Olguín

ISSUE BACKGROUND: While in D.C. for a peaceful rally, Genevieve Mahoney took a picture of the U.S. Capitol and posted it to Instagram. Unfortunately, other people in D.C. that day—January 6, 2021—chose to breach the nation’s capitol building, participating in unlawful, violent activity that shocked and saddened her.

Mere hours after Genevieve posted her picture, Facebook (now Meta) issued an emergency statement entitled “Our Response to the Violence in Washington.” The statement claimed that protesters who were posting photos at the Capitol were “inciting, encouraging, and promoting criminal activity.” In the Instagram group where Genevieve had posted, it was quickly and widely understood that she was one of the people Facebook’s statement referred to.

Despite the fact that she had not participated in any criminal activity—remaining behind spectator scaffolding her entire time at the Capitol—Genevieve faced public ridicule and damage to her reputation due to Facebook’s defamatory and factually false statements. Further, on January 12, Genevieve’s Instagram account was disabled and deleted.

The Liberty Justice Center is defending Genevieve Mahoney against the censorship of her content on Instagram and against the defamatory statements made publicly about her by Facebook, the parent company of Instagram.

The Liberty Justice Center’s case filings are available here.

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