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Facebook Sued in Germany for Selfie Linked to Fake News Stories about Terrorism

With one selfie, a Syrian refugee has brought Facebook to a day of reckoning.

A German judge will soon decide what to do about Anas Modamani, who took a selfie with chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 and posted it on Facebook. The photo went viral as a symbol of Germany's open-door policy to refugees, but some fake news stories used the photo to link Modamani to terrorism.

Modamani, who sued for injunctive relief in Wurzburg, wants Facebook to prevent the photo from being shared and to delete all false news stories that have used it. Facebook's attorney told the judge it is not possible.

Yahoo announced last night that Marissa Mayer, the company's president and CEO for nearly five years, will step down from Yahoo's board after Yahoo's planned merger with Verizon is completed. Yahoo co-founder David Filo will also resign from the board of directors.

Once the merger is completed and following the sale of its core businesses, what remains of the company will change its name to Altaba, according to SEC filings. That is, if the deal goes through. Verizon could terminate or renegotiate its $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo over recent revelations that more than one billion Yahoo user accounts had been hacked.

Snapchat, the video messaging app that's seduced millions of Millennials, is growing fast and set to grow even faster in the future. The app grew from 50 million active daily users in March 2014 to over 100 million less than a year later, a growth that is expected to help the company bring in over a $1 billion in revenue this year -- and growth that has fueled the company's $20+ billion valuation.

But Snapchat's user metrics might not be completely accurate, at least according to one recent lawsuit. A former Snapchat employee sued the company last week, accusing it of "an institutional pandemic" of misrepresentation regarding its growth metrics. The suit comes as the company is preparing for its much-anticipated IPO.

You Can't Serve Divorce Papers Through Facebook, NY Court Rules

It's fair to say you've been unfriended if your spouse tries to serve you divorce papers on Facebook, but it's not fair to say you've been served on Facebook.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Sunshine this week refused to accept service through the social platform in a divorce case. The wife said she couldn't find another way to communicate with her estranged husband, who hadn't updated his Facebook profile in two years.

"Granting this application for service by Facebook under the facts presented by plaintiff would be akin to the Court permitting service by nail and mail to a building that no longer exists," the judge said.

When Lan Cai was unhappy with her lawyers, the 20-year-old nursing student did what many Millennials do: she took to the internet. Specifically, Cai went on Facebook and Yelp to give the law firm a negative review. The firm, the Law Offices of Tuan A. Khuu in Houston, Texas, wasn't pleased with Cai's online complaint. They sued.

They didn't win that suit. Last week, a judge in Texas tossed the firm's lawsuit and ordered them to pay $27,000 to cover Cai's attorney's fees.

New 'Yelp Law' Makes It illegal to Gag Customers for Criticizing Businesses Online

Consumers who critique businesses through Yelp, TripAdviser, and other websites may breathe easier now that a new law is on the president's desk.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act, which Congress passed to stop businesses from punishing consumers who post negative reviews, received widespread support in both houses. The U.S. Senate approved the bill unanimously yesterday, sending it to the President Obama for signature.

"Reviews on where to shop, eat, or stay on websites like Yelp or TripAdvisor help consumers make informed choices about where to spend their money," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). "Every consumer has the right to share their honest experiences and opinions of any business without the fear of legal retaliation, and the passage of our bill brings us one step closer to protecting that right."

The president-elect's social media platform of choice may be Twitter, but one of the biggest social media stories of this campaign has nothing to do with 140-character policy proposals or late-night tweet storms. It's about Facebook.

Facebook has quickly replaced traditional print journalism as one of the main sources of news for most Americans, with almost half of the country turning to Facebook for their news fix. But some of that news is not of the highest quality. Some of it is blatantly false. And that could have a significant impact on American society and politics.

You might think this year's most shocking cybersex story would be the allegations that Anthony Weiner sent sexually suggestive messages to a teenager. The following investigation involved a search through Weiner's computer, which he shared with his (now-estranged) wife Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton's closest advisors. That search led FBI Director James Comey to make the unprecedented announcement that the government was looking again into Hillary's missing emails, and then to take it all back just a few days later. Weiner's insatiable taste for cybersex could have tipped the election to Trump. In terms of cybersex scandals, that's pretty major.

But if you thought Weiner was number one, you'd be wrong. According to Ars Technica at least, the biggest cybersex scandal of 2016 involves international scammers, a government laptop, a masturbating state senator, and local politics in Nebraska.

Twitter, everyone's favorite 140-character social media platform, has been struggling lately, struggling to keep up growth, struggling to make a profit, struggling to find a buyer. So, even as Twitter finally released some good news last week, reporting a strong Q3 performance, it was also reported that the company would be laying off about 9 percent of its workforce, with its sales team hit hardest.

Now, lawyers are reaching out to those ex-Twitter employees, looking to see if they had an actionable claim against their former employer. And in a cruel twist, they're doing so through targeted Facebook ads.

Are businesses (or their reputation management companies) suing fake defendants in order to get rid of negative online reviews? That's the argument made by Eugene Volokh and Public Citizen's Paul Alan Levy recently in the Volokh Conspiracy.

The duo looked at 25 court cases that followed a suspiciously similar pattern. First, a self-represented company, often with ties to a reputation management firm, sues a defendant for a defamatory online review. Then, the defendants agree to an injunction which quickly results in a court order to take down the allegedly offending content. Suddenly: poof, no more bad review. But when someone tries to find track down those defendants, they're no where to be found. Indeed, they might not even exist.