Norway’s Supreme Court to consider sex offender case calling for social media to be a right

The unnamed offender was sentenced last year to 13 months in prison and banned from using Snapchat for two years.


A convicted sex offender is asking the court to make social media access a human right.

The case before Norway’s Supreme Court claims that depriving the man of a Snapchat account is unlawful under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The unnamed offender molested a minor and used the Snapchat messaging app to connect with young boys. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison and banned from using Snapchat for two years.

“The case raises important questions about the extent to which the state can restrict access to social media platforms, which are significant tools for exercising the right to freedom of expression and maintaining social connections,” said defence lawyer John Christian Elden.

A November 2023 appeal against the Snapchat ban failed with the state successfully arguing the ban was “proportionately measured against the fact that the defendant has used Snapchat to exploit children sexually”.

The appeal court said the man still had the right to use other social media.

If Norway’s Supreme Court upholds that decision, the offender could attempt to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Snapchat, run by Snap Inc does not allow child sexual exploitation but allows accounts to be created anonymously.

In an email, it said, “When we disable accounts for sexual exploitation and grooming behaviour, we also take steps to block the associated device and other accounts connected to the user from creating another Snapchat account”.

Snap disabled 343,865 accounts connected with child sexual exploitation in the second half of 2023.

The Norwegian court will issue its ruling in the coming weeks.

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2024-05-02 10:29:29

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