German lawmakers passed a law to crack down on so-called “hate” speech on social media. It drastically limits online free speech. Germany will soon look like China as they successfully shut down all dissent.
While the administration built on a ban of Holocaust denial, it’s really about anti-Islam speech. They will fine the social networking sites $56 million USD if they aren’t able to remove the illegal content and the administration’s idea of “fake news.”
The illogical behind it
“Freedom of speech ends where the criminal law begins,” said Justice Minister Heiko Maas, the bill’s leading sponsor.
“With this law, we put an end to the verbal law of the jungle on the internet and protect the freedom of expression for all,” Mr. Maas said. “We are ensuring that everyone can express their opinion freely, without being insulted or threatened.”
“That is not a limitation, but a prerequisite for freedom of expression,” he continued.
He and Merkel are given social media companies more time to eviscerate the offenders before they fine them.
Not everyone is happy
It’s raised serious questions about free speech. Digital and human rights groups, as well as the companies themselves, had opposed the law. It places extraordinary limits on individuals’ right to free expression. Critics also say it shifts the burden to providers.
“This law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem,” Facebook said in a statement.
“We feel that the lack of scrutiny and consultation do not do justice to the importance of the subject. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure safety for the people on our platform,” the company said, noting that it is hiring 3,000 additional staff on top of 4,500 already working to review posts.”
The German administration is even requiring social media networks to publish a report every six months with complaints they received and how they dealt with them. The media companies only have seven days to remove objectionable material.