Facebook says Germany’s hate speech bill “inappropriate”

By on May 30, 2017


Facebook criticized the new German hate speech law, calling it "inappropriate" in their first official statement since the bill was drafted, the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported Monday.  (Photo: Facebook/Facebook)
Facebook criticized the new German hate speech law, calling it “inappropriate” in their first official statement since the bill was drafted, the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported Monday. (Photo: Facebook/Facebook)

BERLIN—Facebook criticized the new German hate speech law, calling it “inappropriate” in their first official statement since the bill was drafted, the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported Monday.

In the statement, Facebook also revealed that “the state should not push its own failures and responsibility onto private companies”, and that the fight against fake news should be “a shared responsibility, which the state should not be able to evade”.

The company also requested that a European-wide solution is found and warned against “separate, national” approaches to tackling the fake news epidemic.

Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas who is leading the controversial new law, believes it will help to push social media giants such as Facebook to be more vigilant concerning hate speech on their websites.

The new bill will force social media companies to delete hate speech within 24 hours, and will allow seven days for more complicated circumstances. Failure to act will incur hefty fines of up to 50 million euros (55.96 million U.S. dollars).

Fines will be incurred if speech containing incitement to kill or be violent, threating speech, abusive language or sedition is not deleted in the allocated time.

Many human rights groups, officials and bodies have also criticized the bill. They fear the bill could be implemented too hastily without understanding the underlying causes, and have raised issues on how much power the bill could give to private companies to control hate speech and subsequently freedom of speech.

Maas responded that critics worried about the level of speech deletion had either “not read the bill properly or have misunderstood key passages of the bill” in an interview with German television news channel N24.

“This bill is not about deleting individual postings but rather implementing a working complaints management and a deletion procedure,” Maas explained.