Germany starts enforcing an internet censorship law where contested content has to be taken down pronto by
social media who will suffer massive fines of they don't comply.
The law is supposedly targeted at obviously illegal hate speech, but surely it will be used to take down content anyone doesn't like for any reason. The threats of fines and short time allowed simply means that websites will opt for the easiest
and most economic policy, and that is to take down anything contested.
The new law states the sites that do not remove obviously illegal posts could face fines of up to 50m euro. The law gives the networks 24 hours to act after they have been told about law-breaking material.
Social networks and media sites with more than two million members will fall under the law's provisions. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will be the law's main focus but it is also likely to be applied to Reddit, Tumblr and Russian social network
VK. Other sites such as Vimeo and Flickr could also be caught up in its provisions.
Facebook has reportedly recruited several hundred staff in Germany to deal with reports about content that breaks the NetzDG and to do a better job of monitoring what people post.
Update: First examples of fair free speech being censored in Germany
5th January 2018. See article from politico.eu
Sophie Passmann is an unlikely poster child for Germany's new online hate speech laws.
The 24-year-old comedian from Cologne posted a satirical message on Twitter early on New Year's Day, mocking the German far right's fear that the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that have entered the country in recent years would endanger
Germany's culture. Instead of entertaining her more than 14,000 Twitter followers , Passmann's tweet was blocked within nine hours by the American social media giant, telling users in Germany that Passmann's message had run afoul of local laws.
...Read the full article from politico.eu
Update: German censorship law is a sin against free speech
5th January 2018. See article from dailymail.co.uk
A top-selling German newspaper has called for a new social media hate speech law to be axed after labelling it a sin against freedom of
The law which took effect on January 1 can impose fines of up to 2£44million on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.
The Bild newspaper, under the headline Please spare us the thought police!, says the new law risks making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted.
Update: Germany's AfD party seeks to turn online censorship to its advantage
5th January 2018. See article from dw.com
Germany's rightwing AfD party have been busy with political posters pointing out that they will be the likely victims of censorship
under Germany's new law.
And they will certainly have a good claim. The new law will surely over censor, and any complaint will end up in a censored post, regardless of the merits of the claim. A slightly UnPC post by AfD is likely to be blocked, and so the AfD will
rightly be able to highlight the censorship.
The publicity for examples of censorship will surely chime with a significant proportion of the German population, and so will add to the general level of disaffection with the political elite.
Perhaps Germany ought to at least ensure that censorship should be based on the merits of the case, not implemented by a commercial company who only cares about the cheapest possible method of meeting the censorship requirements.