Germany’s New Hate Speech Law Has Already Triggered Investigations

The Daily Caller | 1/2/2018 | Staff
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Germany has begun implementing a law that bans hate speech on social media platforms and forces companies to remove any relevant content.

In just its first day in effect, the law is already being used against Beatrix von Storch, deputy leader of the country’s far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), according to Deutsche Welle. The politician is under investigation for equating many Muslims to “barbarians” in posts published on Facebook and Twitter. Storch’s Twitter account was allegedly removed for some time, but has since been restored. The Facebook post remains up as of Tuesday morning, but she tweeted later that the company is censoring her.

Law - Network - Enforcement - Act - NetzDG

The law, known as the Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG, officially came into effect Jan. 1, and applies to tech firms like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and YouTube, according to Deutsche Welle. It reportedly does not apply to WhatsApp and LinkedIn. The applicable companies must identify and purge any complaints of content deemed to convey or include violence, hate, or slander within 24 hours — or seven days if the situation is considered more complex. Any firms that fail to abide by the rules in a timely fashion or entirely will be fined up to 45 million euros (roughly $54.19 million USD).

Germany has been debating over the issue of hateful or misleading content on platforms for quite some time, with companies like Facebook pushing back against such government endeavors, which are not necessarily unique to the European nation.

Draft - Law - Incentive - Content - Networks

“The draft law provides an incentive to delete content that is not clearly illegal when social networks face such a disproportionate threat of fines,” Facebook said in an official statement months ago, according to Business Insider. “It would have the effect of transferring responsibility for complex legal decisions from public authorities to private companies. And several legal experts have assessed...
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