The Arbitration Court of the Moscow District upheld the decision of the court of the first instance and the appeal and ordered the social media Odnoklassniki and VKontakte to remove the publications discrediting the business reputation of Danone on the composition of Rastishka yogurt.
In 2020, Danone identified publications that Rastishka yogurt allegedly contained ethylene glycol and carcinogens. Because of these substances, as the authors argued with reference to a chief researcher of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, mortality among adolescents has increased in the last decade.
Danone filed a lawsuit in which it indicated that the quality of Rastishka was confirmed by certificates issued at various levels. Ethylene glycol is not a part of yogurt, and the production of yogurt in accordance with the standards excludes its accidental ingestion into the product.
The judges acknowledged that the posting of such information tarnishes Danone’s reputation and creates a negative information background for the company’s products and ordered the social networks to remove the corresponding publications.
Mail.ru Group (owner of the Odnoklassniki) and Vkontakte tried to prove in an appeal that they could not be the proper defendants in the case: the publications were posted by social media users, not their administration, and not on behalf of companies. But the court indicated that domain name administrators are responsible for the information posted on the site, although they did not act as its authors.
These conclusions were also confirmed by the cassation court.