(Re)Constructions of Social Networks in Slovenian Case Law
Keywords:Slovenian legal system, case law, social networks, freedom of expression, contested speech
The article explores the disruptions and puzzles that Slovenian courts encounter when dealing with contested speech on social networks. In recent years, social networks have thoroughly transformed the ways in which we communicate, relate to ourselves and others, disseminate and perceive information, as well as our understanding of privacy and limits of freedom of expression. Social networks are commercial products of private companies, which are more or less autonomous regarding the regulation and moderation of user-generated content they host. However, legal remedies may be activated when such content conflicts with legal norms. An overview of the Slovenian legislative framework and case law involving expression on social networks exposes the ways in which courts (re)construct social networks, as well as the impact and meaning of a disputed online expression. While the case law on the subject cannot be considered established, the overview reveals the strategies that Slovenian courts employ when dealing with the particularities of expression on social networks. The courts, by and large, assume that social networks are special communicative spaces where freedom of expression must be protected and evaluated according to the particularities of social networks. Such understandings may transform the bar of acceptable expression and influence public discussions’ tone beyond social networks.