Germany: Return of the Stasi Police State? by Judith Bergman

Germany is requiring social media companies to act as state censors. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • Germany’s new law requires social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the government. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether the content is accurate or not.
  • Social media platforms now have the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who will speak and what they will say.
  • Notice the ease with which the police chief mentioned that he had filed charges to silence a leading political opponent of the government. That is what authorities do in police states: Through censorship and criminal charges, they silence outspoken critics and political opponents of government policies, such as Beatrix von Storch, who has sharply criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s migration policies.
  • While such policies would doubtless have earned the German authorities many points with the old Stasi regime of East Germany, they more than likely contravene the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) to which Germany is a party, as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

Germany’s new censorship law, which has introduced state censorship on social media platforms, came into effect on October 1, 2017. The new law requiressocial media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to censor their users on behalf of the German state. Social media companies are obliged to delete or block any online “criminal offenses” such as libel, slander, defamation or incitement, within 24 hours of receipt of a user complaint — regardless of whether the content is accurate or not. Social media companies are permitted seven days for more complicated cases. If they fail to do so, the German government can fine them up to 50 million euros for failing to comply with the law.

The new censorship law, however, was not fully enforced until January 1, 2018, in order to give the social media platforms time to prepare for their new role as the privatized thought police of the German state. Social media platforms now have the power to shape the form of current political and cultural discourse by deciding who will speak and what they will say.

To continue reading: Germany: Return of the Stasi Police State?

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2 responses to “Germany: Return of the Stasi Police State? by Judith Bergman

  1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Like

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