Many of you are fed up with Facebook and Twitter restricting free speech, attacking those who lean right. For a taste of what Britain will soon be like if Brexit doesn’t happen, look to Germany, the thought police. On January 1st the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (network enforcement act) came into force in Germany.
Germany’s hate speech rules, known locally as NetzDG and which came into full force Monday, demand that social media giants promptly remove potentially illegal material, some of it within 24 hours of being notified, or face fines of up to €50 million.
The anti-EU party Alternative for Germany (AfD) have already felt the consequences of the new law – two of their MPs have had their Twitter accounts blocked. But they aren’t alone. The satirical magazine Titanic was also unable to use Twitter for two days, after it posted a tweet satirising the AfD.
Tech executives and lobbyists have said Germany’s new hate speech rules have the potential to limit freedom of expression of the country’s citizens, and that it should not be left to private companies to determine what should be allowed online.
The hate speech rules “put companies under tremendous time pressure when examining reported content,” said Bernhard Rohleder, chief executive of Bitkom, a German trade body. “The high fines reinforce this pressure. This will inevitably lead to the deletion of permitted content.”
AfD leader Alexander Gauland responded to the blockades by saying that “private individuals, in this case Twitter employees, should not be taking over the work of judges.”
More concerningly, the European Commission also is mulling potential new pan-EU guidelines to expand on its existing voluntary code of conduct, to which almost all of the social media companies have signed up. In an interview last year, Vĕra Jourová, the Commission’s justice commissioner, said large tech companies must deploy more resources to tackle the problem, or face potential new rules by the spring that may force them to comply with existing hate speech legislation, which was created for the offline world.
“We want the rule of law to be applied in the internet sphere,” Jourová said. “If the situation becomes unbearable, then we will act with legislation.”
Hate speech laws in the EU will end up being used against those that oppose the EU’s Big Brother agenda. Opposition will not be tolerated and alternative world views will not be tolerated. It will be used as a way for politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels to increase their control; they will never relent.