German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has been subject to his own social media censorship law after one of his old tweets calling German economist Thilo Sarrazin an “idiot” was deleted.
The newly implemented Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG), which was pushed by Mr. Maas, has led to the apparent deletion of the seven-year-old tweet from before he was Justice Minister, Die Welt reports.
Mr. Maas claimed he, “did not receive any information from Twitter about why the tweet was deleted, or whether it would be deleted from Twitter”.
He went on to say that the tweet would not be something that he would even consider posting today saying that he had learned over the years what was and was not appropriate on the platform.
Twitter also commented on the deletion saying that the company does not delete individual tweets but locks or suspends accounts that violate its rules and terms of service.
The NetzDG, which came into effect on January 1st, requires social media platforms to delete posts that violate German hate speech laws within a limited time frame or face million euro fines.
Populist Leader Says German Censorship Law Is ‘Direct Attack on Freedom of Speech’ https://t.co/H8rCxVkrGS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 2, 2018
Maas is not the first German politician to have a post deleted by the new law. Anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) politician Beatrix von Storch became the first politician to be affected by the legislation when she had a tweet removed on grounds of “hate speech”.
“What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?” Ms. von Storch wrote.
Chairman of the AfD Alexander Gauland commented on the deletion of the tweet and the temporary suspension of Ms. von Storch’s account saying it reminded him of “Stasi methods”.
Since the height of the migrant crisis, many Germans have had their homes raided and have been arrested for “hate posts” on social media. In one operation alone, 36 homes across the country were raided for posts largely described as having come from “far-right” extremists.