When it comes to spreading criminal content on social networks, Bavaria is now looking to hold operators such as Facebook accountable.
Due to the increasing spread of criminal content and threats via social media, Bavaria is now looking to hold operators such as Facebook accountable. Justice Minister Eisenreich emphasizes: “Anyone who does not remove or block death threats or terrorist communications must fear the criminal consequences as Bavaria will do.”
“Hatred and Agitation Threaten Democracy”
About 66 million people in Germany use social media. Only in the period 2020-2021, this number increased by 7.7 million. At the same time, online hate and hate speech have reached worrying proportions. The President of the 93rd Conference of Ministers of Justice and the Bavarian Minister of Justice, Georg Eisenreich, explains: “Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are part of our daily lives. Many like to use these platforms. At the same time, something is being prepared on the Internet that is a threat to our country. Hatred and hatred poison the social climate, threaten freedom of expression and threaten democracy. ”
Words can become deeds
Eisenreich also warns that words on social networks can also become deeds. “That’s why we want platform operators to be more responsible. Tech giants can often pay fines out of little money. ” According to Eisenreich, anyone who does not immediately remove or block death threats or terrorist messages, while aware of it, must fear the criminal consequences of Bavaria’s will.
Further legal clarification required
With the Law to Combat Right-wing Extremism and Hate Crime, which entered into force on April 3, 2021, a wide range of innovations have entered into force to improve criminal proceedings against hate crime perpetrators. Minister Eisenreich: “The federal government has made important Bavarian demands here. So far, these measures have focused on the direct perpetrators of the hate speech. The extent to which social network operators are themselves criminally liable if they are aware of the criminal content and do not remove it promptly has not yet been legally clarified. “
Profits are privatized, problems of democracy are socialized
Bavaria submits an application to the 93rd Conference of Ministers of Justice on 01/02. June Eisenreich explains: “Platforms need to do more to meet their responsibilities. Because they create and control the communication spaces from which users – sometimes anonymously – commit crimes. Operators earn a lot of money from their business – a lot of money ”. The negative consequences and costs, however, would have to be borne primarily by the state and society. It is not possible to privatize profits, but to socialize the problems of democracy and the rule of law, criticizes Eisenreich and stresses: “We are now calling on the Federal Minister of Justice to address this important issue and investigate the possibilities of criminal law to act.” Therefore, Bavaria is obliged to amend legislation in order to prosecute platform operators who, despite being aware of it, do not remove criminal content in a timely manner.
Eisenreich concludes: “Freedom of opinion ends where criminal law begins. Insults, defamation, hate speech or the use of unconstitutional symbols of organizations are common hate speech crimes. If you want to protect freedom of speech and democracy, you must consistently fight online hatred. ” In addition, law enforcement requests for information must be answered by social networks without any “buts”, demands the Minister of Justice.
Attention: The 93rd Conference of Ministers of Justice will be held in Hohenschwangau (Bavaria) on 1 and 2 June.
Bavarian Ministry of Justice / RNRed