How Germany Is Trying to Rein In Online Hate on Facebook

How Germany Is Trying to Rein In Online Hate on Facebook


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Sign up By , Christian Post Contributor | May 21, 2018 1:51 PM

Germany, which has just instituted a new and stringent online hate speech law, is now part of a new frontier when it comes to online regulation. The country, which has seen its share of hate throughout its history, is now trying to become an example of how to rein in the world‘s biggest social network.

Facebook is now facing calls for increased regulation after numerous failures to curb the spread of online hate on its network. It has also seen increasing backlash over breaches of privacy and its perceived failure to protect the private data of its users, as highlighted by the .

FacebookFacebook Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks to the audience during the Facebook F8 2018 developer community event in San Jose, California, US on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

All eyes are now on Berlin and its new effort to crack down on the spread of hate speech and fake news online through new legally supported measures that started being put in effect with the start of the year, as.

Given the history of Germany, the country is now in a unique, if complicated, position as the battleground between intense, legislated controls against hate speech and Europe‘s overall commitment to data protection and freedom of speech.

In the country, companies that fail to take down “obviously illegal” content within 24 hours now face a hefty fine of up to 50 million euros. Facebook is no exception to the new law, even as the social media platform continue to fail time and again to completely .

The company itself has issued mixed messages about this new law.

“It is perfectly appropriate for the German government to set standards,” Elliot Schrage, Facebook‘s vice president of communications and public policy, said about the new regulations against online hate and misinformation.

Wikimedia Commons/Arno Mikkor/Aron UrbVera Jourova, the European Union‘s justice commissioner, deleted her Facebook account in 2015. The European Commission is considering German-style legislation for online content related to terrorism, violent extremism and child pornography.

“But we think it‘s a bad idea for the German government to outsource the decision of what is lawful and what is not,” he added.

“We don‘t want to be the arbiters of free speech,” Richard Allan, Facebook‘s vice president for public policy in Europe and who is now actively lobbying against the new German legislation.

Even then, Germany is continuing to lead the way when it comes to regulations like the new online hate speech law. Stringent data privacy laws were once considered unusual in Europe — now it has been accepted as a pressing need in the continent, as seen in the many advisories now showing up in websites online.

Governments have now started to treat Facebook as a platform they have to safeguard their citizens against, as spurred on by the recent scandal involving consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which was able to siphon off the personal data of more than 80 million Facebook users.

“Our current system relies on trust and this did nothing to improve trust,” Vera Jourova, the European Union‘s justice commissioner, then asked if German-style legislation is the answer.


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