WJC welcomes draft legislation in Germany to combat online hate

Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas proposed legislation on Tuesday to fight hate speech, threatening social media companies with fines of up to €50 million ($ 53million) in case of non-compliance.

WJC CEO Robert Singer (l) with Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas, February 2017Under the rules proposed, internet companies would be required to clearly explain rules and complaint procedures to their users and to follow up on each complaint. Illegal content will have to be deleted within 24 hours, while other offensive content must be taken down or blocked within seven days.

Providers such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube would also have to nominate a person responsible for handling complaints, who could face fines of up to 5 million euros personally if his or her company fails to abide by mandatory standards. Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the measures, which will become part of a bill to be adopted by German lawmakers in the coming months, would not restrict freedom of speech. He also said there were no plans to create a “truth commission” against so-called fake news. However, Maas said that fake news could constitute illegal content “if it constitutes slander, defamation or libel.”

“Too little criminal content is being deleted, and it’s not being deleted sufficiently quickly,” the justice minister told journalists. “The biggest problem is and remains that the networks don’t take the complaints of their own users seriously enough,” he added.

“Facebook and Twitter missed the chance to improve their takedown practices. For companies to take on their responsibility in question of deleting criminal content, we need legal regulations," Maas said.

World Jewish Congress, Central Council of Jews in Germany welcome legislation 

World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer, who met with German Justice Minister Heiko Maas and with Facebook representatives in Berlin last month, welcomed the new bill. He declared: "The internet is awash with hateful content, a lot of which is illegal incitement to hatred and violence. Currently, it often takes providers far too long to remove or block such content.

"It’s important that the internet companies and politicians take this problem seriously. We commend Germany for taking the lead on this. Minister Heiko Maas’ bill addresses major points of concern, notably the removal of illegal content from social media platforms. 

"We hope that the proposed measures will lead to an improvement in the situation and that social media companies and users will do everything to combat online hate effectively."

The Central Council of Jews in Germany also welcomed Maas's proposal, saying stronger measures against "incitement of racial hatred, glorification of National Socialism and Holocaust denial on social media" were "urgently required". Central Council President Josef Schuster, who is also a vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, said: "It starts with words and ends with violence against people."

Photo: BMJV

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Comments

Ronald Sevenster

Wed, 15 Mar 2017

A dangerous development. Soon central Jewish teachings on marriage and sexuality will be marked as "hate speech", and Torah passages which condemn anti-natural nehaviour (homosexuality) will be banned. This seems to be the introduction of censorship on the Internet.

Izaak

Tue, 14 Mar 2017

What???? This is so the Fascist socialist EU can censor honest individuals from any anti EU information and those who speak out against the endless mass immigration of ISIS supporting sharia law loving radical Muslim migrants.... The EU now has over 900 so-called no-go-zones where many also have Islamic courts that remove human rights from women. Sweden is now the rape capital of the World, yet EU progressives want to censor or arrest anyone who speaks out about their migrant crime pandemic!!!! The EU is a banker managed socialist police state, similar to 1930s Germany, as they push towards undemocratic World Government.

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