Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Germany raids homes of 36 people accusing of “hateful” social media postings


Most of them were for “right-wing incitement.” The problem with this entire enterprise should be obvious, but probably isn’t: nowhere in this article does any German authority explain (and the New York Times of course does not ask) by what criteria they determine that someone is guilty of “hate speech” or “right-wing incitement.” Facebook and Twitter have placed tight clamps on referrals from this website, which went down 90% from both in mid-February 2017 and have never recovered. Clearly they view honest reporting about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat to be “hate speech.” But is it? Is it really “hate speech” to oppose jihad violence and the oppression of women, non-Muslims, gays and others that is mandated by Sharia?
These raids were an authoritarian undertaking that threatens the freedom of Germans and all free people, and makes the state a tyranny that cannot be questioned, for after all, such questioning would be “hate speech.”
“Germany Raids Homes of 36 People Accused of Hateful Postings Over Social Media,” by David Shimer, New York Times, June 20, 2017:
BERLIN — In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including threats, coercion and incitement to racism.
Most of the raids concerned politically motivated right-wing incitement, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office, whose officers conducted home searches and interrogations. But the raids also targeted two people accused of left-wing extremist content, as well as one person accused of making threats or harassment based on someone’s sexual orientation.
“The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action,” Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said in a statement. “Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet.”
The raids come as Germans are debating the draft of a new social media law aimed at cracking down on hate speech, a measure that an array of experts said was unconstitutional at a parliamentary hearing on Monday.
The measure, championed by Justice Minister Heiko Maas for passage this month, would fine Facebook, Twitter and other outlets up to $53 million (50 million euros) if they failed to remove hate speech and other forms of illegal content.
Under German law, social media users are subject to a range of punishments for posting illegal material, including a prison sentence of up to five years for inciting racial hatred.
Under the draft statute, networks must offer a readily available complaint process for posts that may amount to threats, hate speech, defamation, or incitement to commit a crime, among other offenses.
Social media outlets would have 24 hours to delete “obviously criminal content” and a week to decide on more ambiguous cases. The law, approved by Germany’s cabinet in April, would be enforced with fines of up to $53 million.
According to a recent government study, Facebook deleted just 39 percent of illegal hate speech within 24 hours in January and February, despite signing a code of conduct in 2015 pledging to meet this standard. Twitter deleted just 1 percent.
“We are disappointed by the results,” Klaus Gorny, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement this year regarding the study. “We have clear rules against hate speech and work hard to keep it off our platform.”…


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