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Germany Plans To Fine Social Media Sites Over Hate Speech (reuters.com) 305

Germany plans a new law calling for social networks like Facebook to remove slanderous or threatening online postings quickly or face fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 mln). From a report: "This (draft law) sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement announcing the planned legislation on Tuesday. Failure to comply could see a social media company fined up to 50 million euros, and the company's chief representative in Germany fined up to 5 million euros. Germany already has some of the world's toughest hate speech laws covering defamation, slander, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, backed up by prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. It now aims to update these rules for the social media age.
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Germany Plans To Fine Social Media Sites Over Hate Speech

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  • Double Edge (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sciengin ( 4278027 )

    This will backfire so hard.

    I am familiar with the German media landscape and people have been complaining about the lying press for years now. Especially the state-funded news stations.
    Technically they do not have a lying press, but a press that very often omits and twists, but that is besides the question.

    What will happen is that people will report every news statement from those state funded medias on facebook.
    Facebook will then face the possibility of effectively removing everything from those medias, or

    • After years of safe space demanding snowflakes in the US, we are starting to see them turn into cannibals. During the "woman's day march" fights broke out between different groups, with some groups claiming that the white protesters were not as victimized as others. But it's not enough, and not fast enough. The damage that things like Title 9 have done because of these groups isn't going away any time soon.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Fighting over who has more victimness? How pathetic can human beings get?

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          All stated identities are equal but some stated identities are more equal than others.
          A ranking to find the most marginalized. Like an international sporting event podium only one group can be the most marginalized.
    • Germany does not have state funded/financed press or other media.

      • Reality would like to disagree:

        https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        alternatively: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

        Sure, officially it is independent, but my point was that it is not at all, which is a huge problem for many people.
        Their money comes from the state (well it is collected with authority of the state, not like a private company), their program is set by the state (through politicians who look for a job after their term and often simply through calls or letters from politicians still in office) ther

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Thats nice until a party or cult moves too far to the left or right and upsets German democracy.
        Then a political party, cult or publisher learns how well funded the German government is.
    • by iris-n ( 1276146 )

      Yeah, let's just get rid of the mainstream press and follow some random website that agrees with your preconceptions instead. You'll get all the alternative facts you want, everyone will support your conspiracy theories, and you won't be faced with inconvenient truths like global warming.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @03:29PM (#54038749)

    Why do we see so much hypocrisy from leftists?

    On one hand, they're always talking about how important "openness", "tolerance", "acceptance", and "transparency" are.

    Yet at the same time, leftists are at the forefront of putting extreme limits on what people can express, and extraordinarily harshly punishing anyone who dares to express an idea that these leftists dislike.

    Are leftist ideologies inherently contradictory, resulting in this sort of hypocrisy emerging naturally?

    Or is it some problem with the people themselves, such as a mental disorder of some sort, that draws them toward leftist ideologies in the first place, and renders them unable to see their own hypocrisy?

    Is there some other explanation?

    • by Phydeaux ( 82550 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @03:40PM (#54038837)
      "Openness" and "tolerance" is only for people who think like they do. Look at the way progressives treat conservative blacks in the US- they're called "Uncle Toms" when they don't think and behave the way progressives think they should. They have little interest in open and fair discussion on certain topics because their message is driven by virtue-signalling and feelz, not logic. Remember, inside every progressive is a totalitarian screaming to be let out.
      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        not sure if i agree that tolerance can be justified to use hate speech?
        granted the whole SJW politically correct speech has gone "full retard" in most cases.
        heck my use of the term probably will have negative reactions anyway but free speech needs to stay free.

        • not sure if i agree that tolerance can be justified to use hate speech?
          Yes it can because there is no such thing as 'hate speech' unless you can give me some kind of well thought out definition for it that doesn't preventing people from saying what they believe is true ?

          I've never seen one, they all basically amount to , I want to sensor opinions I don't believe are correct.

        • Political Correctness is fascism pretending to be Manners.

          -- George Carlin

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Yeah the corporate and political propagandist trolls are working full time on this story. Want to behave like a dick bag, expect to be called one. Behave like an uncle tom, well, don't be surprised when you are called one. Slime you way into a group, just to use and exploit the group don't be surprised when you are called out and told to bugger off.

            When Uncle Tom Obama started random blowing people up with drones, then insults are to be expected and they are whole lot less harmfull than those missiles. Sam

      • by iris-n ( 1276146 )

        The problem is the people who will use the very openness of a society to destroy it. See how the Nazis rose to power in Germany. This is known as the paradox of tolerance [wikipedia.org], proposed by Karl Popper, who personally saw everything going to shit, and in the end had to escape Austria before the concentration camps started working.

        So no, the Germans know very well what they are doing, and they are doing it right: do not tolerate the intolerant.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @04:09PM (#54039051)

      Modern SJW liberalism is VERY different from classic liberalism. I myself am a classic liberal who left the Democrat Party over this. I can no longer support a party that has abandoned the principles of true equality and liberty for a very warped version of "equality" based on simply reversing who gets discriminated against. The liberal ideal I always stood for was that of an integrated society where all groups lived as equals, in union and harmony. The new SJW ideal is that of a re-segregated society where formerly oppressed classes rule and everyone else lives as second-class citizens. No thanks.

      • Like 1984 comes to life, Animal Farm also holds heavy relevance in today's political climate.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )
        Dave Rubin did the same thing, and many others are joining that trend. It's not just a warped version of "equality" being displayed, it's a weaponized version of "equality" coming from the far left.
      • by e r ( 2847683 )

        The liberal ideal I always stood for was that of an integrated society where all groups lived as equals, in union and harmony.

        Do you mean equality of outcome or equality of opportunity?
        Secondarily, but just as important: should people take responsibility for their own lives and their own decisions or should the government?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is coming from the right in Germany. The right wants the laws they support on hate speech, particularly Nazism, applied online. They already made sure that Germany gets special versions of games and movies with the swastikas removed.

  • Why would there be any hate speech? Personally I love the fascist Nazis in Germany who have decided that they get to control what others say.
  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @03:35PM (#54038813)

    I honestly wonder how Slashdotter's feel about the most "left-wing" countries pressing down on any kind of speech they dislike, including criticism of government policies.

    I'm a moderate. I swing both ways. ( ;) )

    But to me, it's alarming to me how left-wing countries are rapidly approaching and embracing authoritarianism / fascism. (Remember China is a left-wing authoritarian state.) But most people seem to conflate "right wing = authoritarian = bad guys" and "left wing = freedom = good guys."

    At least with US politics, there's been a real splintering. The old GOP is still authoritarian. But the newer GOP are much more "pro-gay marraige, get the government out of your bedroom / life." While the old left seems to be more free loving, and the new left is the ones burning down starbucks because someone dared to say something they don't like.

    So to head back to Germany. Honestly, I'm glad Trump won (WHAT, OMG, DOWNVOTE YOU BASTARD). Because Hillary had spoken at length about European governments being a "model" to follow and, not even about Hillary, but the thousands of people hoping to get into power and hold influence with Hillary at the helm, I really think the USA would have slanted further toward this idea where violence and government oppression is the cure to speech you dislike. (And when Trump got elected, it represented a clear setback.) And the second you say, "We don't use BETTER speech to defeat speech, we use laws and bats." You have basically tapped into people's primal urge to form lynch mobs, and when have you EVER heard of lynch mobs being associated with "justice?" Moreover, the heavily emotional (as opposed to fact-based) nature of the new left's strategy, leaves TONS of people waiting to be unleashed without any fact checking. People who become pawns for billionaires. People who get arrested while the billionaires can just say "I didn't MEAN they should really riot."

    I remember growing up that being a liberal meant two things: 1) I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. and 2) A diversity of IDEAS and perspectives strengthens us all.

    And I'm honestly worried how the left has abandoned both of those core tenets yet somehow uses the same banner and labels. They're abusing the goodwill from decades of goodwork, to make people think their current oppression is still for the good of the world. Like a company buying out a brand name, and corrupting it with cheap knockoffs, but people still remember "The Brand Name" as something good so they get tricked by it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ScentCone ( 795499 )

      it's alarming to me how left-wing countries are rapidly approaching and embracing authoritarianism / fascism

      It isn't "left-wing countries," it's lefties in general over the last few decades. There is no greater group of speech-muzzling little tyrants to be found. Try saying something out of alignment with the dictatorial left on a college campus like Berkeley - and get literally beaten bloody and unconscious. And then watch the lefty columnists in the school paper cheer it on! It's astonishing. Or would be, if we hadn't been seeing the liberals/progressives patting their brown shirts on the back for some years n

      • Well duh, the authoritative ones are always going to try and get themselves into positions of power. So any movement or organization is going to end up run by those types. The only defense I can think of is to try to set up safeguards before those authoritarians take over.

        This just reinforces the view that the only people fit to lead are those that don't want to.

      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        Its not our fault that people are dumb enough to buy garbage like pizza gate to the point where some fuckwit with a gun shows up and shoots up a pizza parlor.

        This kind of speech is dangerous and while I might have, at one point, believed that nobody of consequence would believe such obvious bullshit that is clearly not the case so now we have to worry about folks that get indoctrinated into this kind of bullshit doing things like killing innocent people.

        We used to say that the truth is the best way to inocu

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          You have to spin alternative narratives. It's not enough to just say pizzagate is fake, you have to give them a compelling story too. Write about how it was created, by whom and for what reason.

          Compare these statements and decide which is more compelling:

          Obama isn't a Muslim.
          Obama is a Christian.

    • wow, i didn't know there were still any other moderates out there.
      I don't think I've even heard the term in the media in the last 10 years.

      Although i think the situation is worse then you might imagine.
      I really believe that about 25% of the people on both the left and the right have been programmed to respond when 'triggered' to whatever activities their common social group might want censored. So that is about 40% of the country total.

      However, that is a natural consequence of the indoctrination within our

    • by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @04:42PM (#54039271)

      Left wing? What are you smoking? Merkel belongs to the CDU party (christian democratic union) and it is a center - right party.
      And speaking of lynch mobs [slashdot.org]. Your very idol Trump is how they happen, not hate speech laws.
      If you call yourself a moderate with a straight face then people around you must be so far right that German neo-Nazi groups would feel underachieving in comparison.

      • Hate speech laws and Trump are not mutually exclusive. They can both lead to lynch mobs. Trump has said he want's to strengthen libel laws so the media aren't able to "lie" about him. As far as I am concerned, all attempts to restrict freedom of speech are antithetical to a free society. It seems neither left nor right wing extremists support freedom of speech when they are in power, and in my opinion are just 2 sides of the same coin. Political ideologies can have more than one dimension.
      • What a hateful thing to say ;)

    • by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @06:26PM (#54040035) Homepage Journal

      The old GOP is still authoritarian. But the newer GOP are much more "pro-gay marraige, get the government out of your bedroom / life."

      Which "newer GOP" is that? Trump's? Because Trump's GOP is taking a hard turn towards authoritarianism. Sure, he doesn't care about gay marriage, but he's all for silencing the press and any other sort of dissent, wants to massively expand the police state (mostly, but not entirely, in the name of fighting illegal immigration), is happy to use government power to lean on any private business he doesn't approve of, etc. He doesn't care about your bedroom primarily because he doesn't want anyone looking too closely at his bedroom, not because he actually believes in liberty.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The laws in Germany regarding Nazism were necessary for a time. That time is over now, it's time they moved forward.

      Beyond that, harassment should be dealt with. Most of the times people start screaming "censorship!" it turns out to just be harassment. Obviously no system is perfect and mistakes will be made. Law enforcement is imperfect, but still worth having.

      Beyond that, every venue should be free to decide what their rules are, or have no rules at all.

  • If I say 'what you are doing is wrong'? Do i hate you?
    Am I encouraging violence against you? What if I say only evil people do that?

    If I say 'who you are voting for is evil' or worse 'people who vote for XXX are evil' Am I spewing hate?

    Where do you draw the line.

    In my experience ALL attempts at defining hate speech are attacks on free speech. Whoever defined what is 'hate' now has the power to define what is speech.

    The only place to draw the line is when someone is standing there say 'we need to get our

  • Oh thats right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jediborg ( 4808835 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @03:51PM (#54038909)
    There is no free speech in Germany. You can't publish games about killing nazis (with the Nazi swastika logo) in Germany. I would know, having published video games in that region. You might also be surprised to know that the United States, Canada and Mexico are the ONLY regions in the world that consider video games 'expressions of free speech' and therefore beyond government censorship/regulation? In these regions the ESRB rates video games, like the MPAA (movie ratings) they are determined by a private entity funded by a coalition of video game publishers and developers. The system is far from perfect but it means all the censorship is coming from the industry itself, fueled by fears of consumer outrage should they release violence and boobies in a 'Rated E for everyone' video game. The governments of these regions cannot pass a law like the one in Germany, there is zero percent government censorship.

    In Japan, U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain (regions I have shipped games in) these games are 'rated' by an organization controlled by the government. They can be and often are subjected to the political forces of the week. What is and is not allowed is often arbitrary, obtuse, and games are regularly given harsher ratings for espousing political or social beliefs that the government of the year doesn't like. (Not to mention governments of the past, which may have encoded banned images/thoughts into law)

    When i first realized this information, it dawned on me how fragile freedom is. As westerners we tend to take it for granted and think that all the developed nations are abundant with freedom. When you look really closely though, freedom is a rather precious, fragile, and rare commodity in the world, deserving of our protection.
    • Yes it's interesting when you consider, it's illegal in Germany to "deny the holocaust"... yet references to Nazi's and Swastika's are likewise illegal... so you can't really "talk about the holocaust" either...it's verboten.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      That's not correct. In the UK we have the BBFC, which is a non governmental organisation that is not controlled by the state. Since 2010 it has had a statutory duty to rate films, but it decides the rating system by itself and has on several occasions been at odds with the government.

      It's not perfect and in the internet age it's also less relevant, but it isn't correct to say that it is controlled by the government. Also, freedom of speech is unaffected since it only covers commercial releases, your are sti

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      In Japan, U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain (regions I have shipped games in) these games are 'rated' by an organization controlled by the government. They can be and often are subjected to the political forces of the week. What is and is not allowed is often arbitrary, obtuse, and games are regularly given harsher ratings for espousing political or social beliefs that the government of the year doesn't like. (Not to mention governments of the past, which may have encoded banned images/thoughts into law)

      I'm sure that from a publisher's commercial perspective hitting your desired age rating is important. Short of porn there's not much that restricts parents from doing whatever they want with TV shows and computer games and if it's for adults you can always release it unrated for 18yo+ so the freedom of speech angle is a bit far fetched. Here in Norway it's 6/9/12/15/18 and except for 18+ you can see movies one rating higher accompanied by an adult. So:

      Frozen 6yo -> 0yo with adult.
      Beauty and the Beast 9yo

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @03:59PM (#54038981)

    I don't like hate speech laws. They tend to be twisted to suppress legitimate political criticism.

    Hate speech laws are almost always applied in a disproportionate way. They tend to pick and choose what racist behavior to censor, and what racist behavior is tolerated, compared to what racist behavior isn't tolerated. They pick winners and losers in the game of racism. Rather than condemn all racism, and promote secular egalitarianism.

    Are Neo-Nazis, and the KKK Terrorists? Yes.
    Are they a Protestant Christian Terrorist group that would not only attack Blacks, and Jews, Muslims but also Catholics, calling them Worshippers of Ba'al and Asherah? Yes.
    Is Evangelical Protestant Christianity a dangerous cult that is a clear and present danger to Democracy, Secularism, and the rule of law, and civil rights? Yes.

    Is it considered racist against white people or all Christians to say that? No. Because there are many sects of Christianity. With varying interpretations, and this points the finger of one particular violent cult.

    Are ISIS and Al-Queada Terrorists? Yes.
    Are they a Sunni Wahabi Islamic that would not only attack Blacks, and Jews, and Christians, but also Shites/The Shia for being Heretics for believing the wrong Successor to Muhammad was Ali? Yes.
    Do the Sunni Wahabi Muslims represent all of Islam? No. There are several variants of Islam. From Shia, to Amadi, Alloyaite, etc.
    Is Sunni Wahabi Islam a dangerous cult that is a clear and present danger to Democracy, Secularism, and the rule of law, and civil rights? Yes.

    Is it considered racist against all Sunni Arabs or Arabians in general? Yes, but thats only because the Saudis have successfully lobbied governments to conflate critics of this ideology with critics of brown people.

    As long as hate speech laws work this way, real racism, real hate, and real bigotry will go unchallenged.

    • "Is Evangelical Protestant Christianity a dangerous cult that is a clear and present danger to Democracy, Secularism, and the rule of law, and civil rights?"

      I disagree with you - the Christians I know mostly fall into this particular section of the spectrum, and not a single one is a threat to or opposed to democracy or the rule of law. I nearly modded you down, but... free speech is important! You have your opinions, I have mine. An open discussion and dialog is more important than trying to silence our op

    • Real heat is in the hearts of mankind.
      It will never be overcome unless there is a God to overcome because it is beyond the power of mankind.

  • Censorship is always dangerous and I wonder just how this will effect other nations. Since German nationals can visit foreign sites and see things that the German government may consider offensive or dangerous will that have any effect of sites outside of Germany? France has similar behaviors in banning the sale of war relics. If an American posts a Nazi helmet for sale on Ebay in the US will that have any effect upon Ebay offices that might exist in Germany?
  • For once can't a US company pull out of just one repressive country instead of capitulating to their asshattery?

    Massive welcome signs costing thousands of immigrants their lives

    Pursuit of "hate speech" charges against political adversaries

    Banning religious attire

    German government can't compete in the market of ideas so they shut it down out of fear of losing control. Way past time Merkel finds a new line of work.

  • They don't care what color they are they love their jack boots.
  • I would advise Facebook to call their bluff. Germany doesn't have authority over what everyone on the internet can read/write. They may feel they have the authority to prohibit what people in Germany read/write. If Facebook refuses to comply with German laws and refuses to pay any fines, Germany's only real option is to force German ISPs to block facebook. Let German politicians deal with the repercussions of that decision.

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