|Abstract: ||Socialiniai tinklai viešojoje erdvėje pasirodė 2005 m. – 2007 m. Nuo jų viešo pasirodymo internete praėjo septyneri metai, tačiau jų populiarumas vis dar auga. Pasaulyje priskaičiuojama apie 150 aktyviai veikiančių socialinių tinklų iš kurių net 13 turi daugiau nei po šimtą milijonų naudotojų. Socialinių tinklų veikimas paremtas informacijos sklaida t. y. įgyvendinant saviraiškos laisvės, informacijos laisvės bei teisės į informaciją nuostatas. Tačiau saviraiškos laisvė nėra absoliuti. Asmens saviraiška naudojantis informacijos laisve yra galima tiek, kiek tai nepažeidžia kito asmens teisių. Deja, ne visi socialinių tinklų naudotojai tuo vadovaujasi ir neretai nutinka taip, jog kitų asmenų teisės vis tik būna pažeistos. Teisės normomis įtvirtinta, kad žalą atsiradusią dėl kitų asmenų neteisėtų veiksmų, privalu atlyginti. Tiek romėnų teisėje, tiek ir įvairių valstybių civiliniuose kodeksuose numatyta, kad žalą atlygina teisės pažeidėjas asmeniškai arba asmuo, kuris yra atsakingas už teisės pažeidėjo veiksmus. Atsižvelgiant į šias teisės nuostatas bei tai, jog internetinėje erdvėje ne visuomet galima nustatyti tikruosius teisės pažeidėjus, kyla klausimas, ar socialinio tinklo valdytojas gali atsakyti už šio tinklo naudojo neteisėtais veiksmais padarytą žalą? Atlikus teisės aktų bei teismų praktikos analizę, buvo padarytos išvados, jog socialinių tinklų valdytojų atsakomybės klausimus teismai sprendžia vadovaudamiesi precedentais, kurie buvo priimti prieš du dešimtmečius, arba teisės aktais, kurie buvo sudarinėjami prieš daugiau nei dešimtmetį. Atsižvelgiant į sparčią informacinių technologijų kaitą, minimos teisės normos gali būti pasenę, neatitinkančios esamos situacijos. Dėl šios priežasties sprendžiant socialinių tinklų valdytojų atsakomybės klausimus, tais atvejais, kai dėl tinklų naudotojų neteisėtų veiksmų kyla grėsmė žmonių prigimtinėms teisėms, teismai privalo atsižvelgti į esamą situaciją ir vadovautis inter alia protingumo bei teisingumo principais. Pabrėžtina, kad teisėtumas nelaikytinas priežastimi pateisinant bet kokį elgesį ar jį formuojančią ideologiją. Socialinio tinklo valdytojas privalo elgtis taip, kad savo veika nepadarytų kitam asmeniui žalos. Būdamas rūpestingas, jis turi pasirinkti tą veikos alternatyvą, kurios tinkamų atsargumo priemonių našta būtų mažesnė negu žala pagal jos atsiradimo tikimybę.|
Social networks appeared in the public domain in 2005-2007. It has been seven years since their public appearance on the Internet; however their popularity is still growing. There are about 150 active social networks worldwide, out of which as much as 13 have over one hundred million users. Among other social networks, Facebook is distinguished for the number of its users, since in the beginning of 2012 it announced that it had more than 900 million users. In the light of such an extent of social networks, there is no doubt about their importance in the society. At the same time, such massive prevalence of social networks in the society means that the likelihood of various offenses grows with the growing number of users of social networking services. In this case, warnings that the use of social networking sites is dangerous are no longer effective, since they amount to warnings about the dangers of driving a car. Most people know it, but cannot imagine their everyday lives without motor transport. The situation is similar with social networks. During 2009-2012, they have become part of everyday lives of many people.Operation of social networks is based on the dissemination of information, i.e. implementation of provisions of freedom of expression, freedom of information and the right to information. However, freedom of expression which includes freedom of information and the right to information is not absolute. In this case, one should recall the phrase of the early twentieth century American Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins". Thus, freedom of information can be equaled to “swinging of a fist”; personal self-expression through freedom of information is possible to the extent it does not violate another persons’s rights. Unfortunately, not all users of social networks follow this rule and the rights of others are often violated.When using a social network, business reputation of others, the right of natural persons to personal data, dignity and honour, person’s image, private life and its secrecy, intellectual property laws may be violated. Such illegal actions as organization of riots, threats of assault, espionage, online bullying and harassment of individuals are distinguished. These forms of illegal behaviour are especially dangerous, because by means of technologies persons are available 24 hours a day. Such accessibility enables the stalkers to attack their victims continually. Unfortunately, due to unique characteristics of the Internet, it is not easy to prove the guilt of the offender, since the person who can be associated with a particular IP address may not necessarily be the actual offender. In the absence of identified offender, the damage is not compensated.Law provides that the damage caused by illegal actions of others must be compensated. Both the Roman law and civil codes of various countries provide that the damage is compensated by the offender in person or by a person who is responsible for the actions of the offender. In the light of these provisions as well as the fact that it is not always possible to identify the actual offenders in the online space, the question arises whether a social network provider is responsible for a damage caused by illegal actions of the users? Therefore, the aim of the article is to determine, whether a social network provider is responsible for a damage caused by illegal actions of the users.Following the analysis of legislative acts and case law, it was concluded that, so far, there are no specialized legislative acts to regulate exclusively the activities of social networks; providers of these services follow the general legislative acts on information society services and electronic commerce. These legislative acts were compiled prior to the emergence of social networks, when the significance and the prevalence of social networks in the society had not been known. As a result, in the implementation of activities of social networks, large data flows that cannot be managed by mere human physical capabilities (this requires special software, automated systems) were not taken into account. Legislative acts establish a general rule that social network providers are not obligated to monitor the activities taking place in the managed information system, i.e. types of information shared or stored, as well as to take active interest in facts and circumstances indicating unlawful activities. In cases where the social network provider has actual knowledge or becomes aware of unlawful activities, he must take immediate measures to remove the information or disable access to it. Inasmuch as there is no obligation to monitor the activities taking place in the information system managed by social networks, the legislative acts provide that social network provider is not to be held liable, if he has no knowledge of illegal actions of persons using the services.Case law of both USA and European courts indicates that social network providers are not to be held liable. When dealing with the issues of liability of social network providers, the USA courts take into account the circumstances of “knowing” and “not knowing”. If the social network provider has no knowledge of the published content and actions of the user, the liability shall not arise. If it is found that the social network provider was aware, or being careful enough must have been aware, of the actions of the user, including the content of the published information, then the provider is held liable. As a result, information service providers no longer take interest in the information published by the users. However, there have been no disputes so far dealing with cases where illegal actions of social network users caused damage to the society (e.g. organized riots) or illegal actions of social network users lead to the death of other persons.The courts decide the issues of liability of social network providers in accordance with the precedents that have been enacted two decades ago or legislative acts which were compiled over a decade ago. And even though in the legal theory this would be considered a short period of time, bearing in mind that some judicial precedents followed today have been enacted centuries ago, from the point of view of information technologies, several decades is a very long period of time. Phenomena considered exceptional in the 90s, became part of everyday life in 2012. For this reason, when dealing with the issues of liability of social network providers in cases where illegal actions of social network users pose a threat to fundamental human rights, the courts must take into account the current situation and be guided by the principle of reasonableness, rather than merely by the case law developed in the eighties or legislative acts adopted in 1990-2000.It should be noted that legitimacy should not be considered a cause justifying any behaviour or the ideology that shapes it. Social network providers cannot rely solely on those laws which establish certain ways of behaviour. They must behave in a way that their actions (acts or omissions) do not harm other persons. Being careful, the social network provider must choose such mode of activities, the burden of adequate precautions of which would be lesser than the damage caused, according to the probability of its occurrence. It is the obligation of due care that implies the obligation of a social network provider to monitor the activities taking place in the managed information system, as well as obligation to take active interest in facts and circumstances indicating illegal activities, and upon detecting such activities – the obligation to take immediate measures to stop them. Artificial intelligence programs akin to the human mind the operation of which would be based on the appropriate codes of conduct could be useful for this purpose. Having breached the duty of due care, a social network provider is held liable for the damage caused by illegal actions of the network users. The article identifies two grounds for liability to be incurred: (i) a social network provider is to be held liable due to use contractual relationships; (ii) a social network provider is to be held liable due to a tort, considering the social network provider to be the manager of a potentially hazardous object.