German prosecutors are again considering whether to press charges against Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives for failing to staunch a tide of racist and threatening posts on the social network during an influx of migrants into Europe.
Munich prosecutors said they had received a complaint filed by a German technology law firm two weeks ago alleging that Facebook (FB.O) broke strict national laws against hate speech, sedition and support for terrorist organizations.
Attorney Chan-jo Jun, who filed a similar complaint in Hamburg a year ago, is demanding that Facebook executives be compelled to comply with anti-hate speech laws by removing racist or violent postings from their site.
Germany has an odd postwar history with freedom of speech. At some point, the country adopted laws which in the United States would be unconstitutional. In an attempt to prevent Nazism from resurfacing, the ownership of memorabilia and display of the swastika are illegal — though I hear folks find Nazi flags and items at flea markets. (I’m not interested Franz. I don’t collect.)
Additionally, the Volksverhetzung are speech laws.
Volksverhetzung, in English “incitement of the masses”, “instigation of the people” (the official English translation of the German Criminal Code uses “incitement to hatred”), is a concept in German criminal law that refers to incitement to hatred against segments of the population and refers to calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them, including assaults against the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population.
I’m not German, and I have a hard time getting worked up over the rights of racists. On the other hand, the left in America often looks longingly at the more civilized nations of Europe as a model for the US. Don’t go there. This is not good.
As for being able to keep anti-immigrant sentiments or racism off the German internet, good luck with that. Talk to the average high school principal about how hard it is to keep porn off the media center computers.