One of The Most Severe Laws in The History of The Internet

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Germany is known as a country with some of the most stringent laws against the propaganda of hatred and insults. At the end of June last year, the German Bundestag strongly tightened the norms concerning social networks. The bill formally came into force in the beginning of October, but only now began to introduce appropriate mechanisms aimed at implementing the new rules.

It’s about the law Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG). The media previously called it “one of the most repressive laws against the Internet.” It contains norms that oblige social networks to remove “illegal content”, which includes fake news and hateful comments, according to users. In total, the document lists more than 20 articles of the German criminal code.

This law is aimed at regulating social networks, the user base of which is more than two million users (excluding media sites). It concerns not only to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube and Vimeo, but also messengers like WhatsApp, Telegram and Skype, as well as services for storing documents (for example, Dropbox).

Upon receipt of an appropriate complaint from the user for comment, post, image and video recording that violate the law, the administration should examine it and block or remove the illegal content within 24 hours.

Social networks are required to store deleted records so that they can later be used as evidence. And every six months to report on the number of complaints received and the measures taken. For violation of this law, there are significant fines – up to 5 million euros for individuals and up to 50 million euros for legal entities.

Without a doubt, German law is the most rigid example of the efforts of governments and regulators to regulate social networks. As recent events show, social media can become a powerful propaganda tool and used to influence the course of elections in a particular country.

By the way, the European Commission has published an appropriate guide for technology companies, which should help them identify and remove infringing content from social networks faster. And Facebook hired several hundred new moderators in Germany, who will just analyze complaints and remove content that violates the NetzDG law.

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