Court (Rightly) Says Germany’s Social Media Censorship Law Goes Too Far

from A little common sense department

Do you remember NetzDG? This is the German content moderation law that was a complete disaster from day one. It imposes all kinds of requirements on social media companies to remove unwanted content in a very short time. Other countries, such as Turkey, have taken inspiration from it to pass their own laws to censor critics of the government. Despite all the problems, Germany recently extended the coverage of the law so that platforms would not only have to block content, but would have to proactively report ‘hate speech’. to law enforcement. It was such a bad idea that even the UN Human Rights Committee said it was a really bad idea.

The social media giant went to court in Germany to try to prevent the new provisions from taking effect, and a German court has now ruled in their favor, saying the law violates wider EU law. It seems that the decision is somewhat technical (as always seems to be the case with German court decisions). Of course, German court rulings are also quite narrow in their precedent, meaning that in this case only Meta and Google (the two parties that challenge the law and were judged in this ruling) are impacted and that doesn’t not invalidate the right set.

Apparently, Twitter and TikTok have also sued this law, but those rulings have yet to be made.

Either way, it would be nice if Germany recognized that this law was a total disaster, rather than trying to extend it. You don’t deal with online content you don’t like by (1) delegating private companies to enforce opaque censorship standards, and (2) you also don’t force them to turn over data to the police without proof of a real crime. Of all the places in the world, you would think that Germany would understand the dangers here, but apparently not.

Filed Under: censorship, content moderation, germany, hate speech, netzdg

Companies: facebook, google, meta, tiktok, twitter

About Marjorie C. Hudson

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