German Justice Minister Wants Harsher Action Against Hate Speech Online

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The German Justice Minister Heiko Maas claims that social media sites don’t do enough to combat hate speech online and has threatened sites with further European Union (EU) regulation.

In the latest attempt to crack down on what the German government defines as “hate speech” Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas has made it clear that he believes social media sites like Facebook are not doing enough to combat so-called “hate posts”.

Mr. Maas has claimed that Facebook in particular is too slow at removing “offensive” posts by its users who criticise migrants or who make “racist” remarks. The Justice Minister has gone so far as to threaten Facebook and other social media platforms with further EU regulations if they do not take “stronger action” against “hate speech”, reports German paper Junge Freiheit.

“There is still too little, too slow and too often the wrong thing is deleted,” Mr. Maas, a member of the Social Democrat party (SPD), told German press, and claimed that the “result of your [Facebook’s] efforts remains well short of what we agreed together in the task force.”

The task force that the Justice Minister refers to was set up last year in order to combat “hate speech”, which can range from the promotion of Nazi ideology all the way to mere criticism of the German government’s migrant policy.

Mr. Maas and the task force have been largely criticised after it was revealed that one of the organisations set up to help with the task force was headed by Anette Kahane, a former informant of the notorious east German domestic spy agency, the Stasi. The anti-mass migration Identitarian youth movement took their criticism to Ms. Kahane’s offices putting up a sign on the door featuring the Stasi logo.

The lack of action on the part of Facebook in regards to removing posts in a timely manner has angered the Justice Minister who said that the result could be further regulation by the EU.  Hate posts are a “significant threat to social peace” he claimed, and went on to say: “The better the companies involved here assume their responsibilities, the less the need for further regulation.”

The real world result of the task force has been large-scale raids of the homes of German citizens who have posted comments online. Just last week 60 residences were raided by the German Federal police for what were termed as “xenophobic remarks.”

In April of this year a similar raid occurred in which nine suspects were arrested. The spokesman of the police in that case said the suspects may have just been “people who just once expressed their hate-opinion”, but were still arrested.


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