Germany to force Facebook, Google and Twitter to act on hate speech

Introduction — Dec 18, 2016


One man’s freedom of expression is another’s “hate speech” and the distinction between the two is highly debatable. This is especially so with the advent of the internet.
So governments around the world are now rushing to pass new legislation that will regulate the internet. Of course it’s censorship by any other name so it’s being done on the pretext of controlling “hate speech”.
So what exactly is “hate speech”? It’s worth asking because what some might consider as “hate speech” others might deem forthright political expression and vice-a-versa.
The internet has opened the floodgates to questions like this and the authorities around the world are struggling to contain what has followed.
Nor is any website now immune from being labelled under “restricted reading”. For example only a few days ago we found that the Truth Seeker was blacklisted by libraries in Midlothian, Scotland.
The reason was “intolerance”, which is a broad definition by any standard. It could for instance mean intolerance of government lies or officially sanctioned deceit. Midlothian libraries didn’t specify exactly but they also listed Smoking-Mirrors,Reflections in a Petri Dish and Visible Origami as being guilty of “intolerance”.
In other words a global clampdown on genuine freedom of expression on the web is in progress. Like the hundreds of websites listed recently — including this website — as being used by Russia to manipulate U.S. public opinion there is a definite propaganda war underway.
No doubt if the censors had their way they would also label this website as “anti-Semitic”. Unfortunately for them we also feature a lot of outspoken Jewish writers, so for the time being they will have to limit themselves to condemning us for “intolerance” and being a mouthpiece for “Russian propaganda.”
Either way this website and others like it are causing people to ask questions and start thinking for themselves. And that is something the powers that be definitely want to put a stop to. Ed.

Germany to force Facebook, Google and Twitter to act on hate speech

Phillip Oltermann — Dec 17, 2016

Germany is to consider new laws that would force social media platforms such asFacebook and search engines such as Google to take a more active role in policing illegal hate speech on their sites.

Measures considered by Angela Merkel’s coalition government include forcing companies to set up clear channels for registering complaints, to publish the number of complaints they receive and to hire legally qualified ombudsmen to carry out deletions.

Online platforms that fail meet such legal requirements could be hit with fines calculated on the basis of their global annual turnover, or face on-the-spot fines of up to €500,000 if they neglect to remove posts in breach of German hate speech law within 24 hours.

Concerns over social media’s power to fire up populist narratives and boost conspiracy theories has increased after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump’s shock election in November, with politicians across Europe looking anxiously ahead to elections in France and Germany next year.

In Germany, which has some of the toughest laws around hate speech – including prison sentences for Holocaust denial and inciting hatred against minorities – political frustration with tech companies’ refusal to take responsibility for content posted on their sites has increased markedly in recent months.

A hate speech taskforce including representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter, set up by German justice minister Heiko Maas in autumn 2015, vowed to aim to delete illegal postings within 24 hours. But a government report published in late September this year found that tech companies were still struggling to react adequately to breaches of law, with Facebook only deleting 46%, YouTube 10% and Twitter 1% of illegal content flagged up by normal, non-privileged users.

According to a investigation by Süddeutsche Zeitung, Facebook currently employs about 600 people via the service provider Arvato to each carry out 2,000 deletions per day on its German-language accounts. But German officials say they have received no such information from the tech companies themselves.


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