Thursday, November 30, 2023

Google ordered to pay 4 billion pesos for 2015 defamation of lawyer

A Mexico City court has ordered tech giant Google to pay more than 4 billion pesos (US $196.4 million) to a Mexican lawyer for allowing defamatory information to be published about him on a blogging platform it owns.

Ulrich Richter Morales, a criminal lawyer, initiated legal action against the multinational technology company in 2015 due to its hosting on its Blogger platform of a blog that linked him to drug trafficking, money laundering and the falsification of documents.

The blog, which remains online, but hasn’t been updated since 2014, was published under the title Ulrich Richter Morales y sus chingaderas a la patria (Ulrich Richter Morales and his despicable deeds against the homeland). The identity of its creator is not publicly known.

The Mexico City Superior Court of Justice ruled earlier this week that Google must take responsibility for what was determined to be moral damage to Richter due to the publication of libel on the blog. A Google spokesperson described the penalty as arbitrary, excessive, baseless and in violation of the right to free speech. The company vowed to challenge the ruling, and the case could end up in the Supreme Court.

Richter said the penalty imposed on Google was “based on the economic capacity of the offender,” which he described as “one of the five richest companies in the world.”

Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, is currently the world’s fourth most valuable company by market cap. Google should have removed the blog but didn’t and is now facing the legal consequences, Richter said.

With reports from El Universal 

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