- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2017

A Syrian refugee who took a selfie with German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival in 2015 has sued Facebook because of its proliferation on the social-media platform.

Anas Modamani is in a legal fight with Mark Zuckerberg’s social-media giant in Germany over a picture he once considered a “good-luck charm.” The Syrian and his lawyer, Chan-jo Jun, were in a Wuerzburg courtroom on Monday attempting to obtain an injunction that would require Facebook to actively find and remove it from pages. Instead, a judge postponed a ruling until March 7 in an attempt to get both parties to settle out of court.

“I saw my picture posted [on a story about the March 22 Brussels terror attack] … But of course, this was not me!” Mr. Modamani told CNN on Monday. “I thought immediately: What does this mean? What about my future? This is really no joke now. This is serious.”

The refugee, one of over 1.1 million to arrive in 2015, also had his image used in random postings after the Dec. 19, 2016, terror attack in Berlin that killed 12 and injured over 50 others. Mr. Modamani told the station that Facebook’s online reporting system did not sufficiently handle the problem.

In one instance, the picture was seen over 200,000 times before it was removed, the network reported.

“We are committed to meeting our obligations under German law in relation to content which is shared by people on our platform,” Facebook said in a statement. “We have already quickly disabled access to content that has been accurately reported to us by Modamani’s legal representatives, so we do not believe that legal action here is necessary or that it is the most effective way to resolve the situation.”

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