Facebook can be sued after removing account of teacher who posted photo of historic nude painting

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PARIS (AP) — Facebook has lost a crucial legal battle as a Paris court ruled the social network can be sued in France over its decision to remove the account of a French user who posted a photo of a famous 19th-century nude painting.

The ruling Friday by the Paris appeals court could set a legal precedent in France, where Facebook has 30 million regular users. It can be appealed to France’s highest court.

A 57-year-old Parisian teacher and art lover launched the case after posting Gustave Courbet’s 1866 “The Origin of the World,” which depicts female genitalia. He wants his Facebook account reactivated and 20,000 euros ($22,550) in damages.

Facebook had argued such lawsuits can only be heard by a California court, and that it’s not subject to French consumer rights law.