The net was a small, very ugly bill even as I was giving it the first text, but in October 2017, the ugly draft had become a law, and unfortunately it did was ugly. Since 1 January 2018, it is now true, large platforms such as Facebook and Twitter must hold a complaint management – and the debate is picking up speed. The year was not even two weeks old when we had the first official censorship debate. On the one hand: Beatrix von Storch (“barbarian, Muslim, gang raping male hordes”), and AFD members in the judiciary (“the little half-negro”) as the first “victims” of the new commitment of the platforms to respond to references either by deletion or the Risk of fines. In this first phase, there was a mischievous applause. The “Netzgemeinde” whispered: Is the NetzDG not so bad in the end? Are we going to get rid of the disgusting blue-and-brown gravy that has been pervading social networks for years?
The disillusionment promptly followed: Ironically, the satirical magazine “Titanic” also gets caught, because of a parody , Guesses about “which gentleman serves the new law” shoot into the cabbage. Does it harm the right or the left more? And has not even Heiko Maass spread a hate commentary that needed to be deleted because of the NetzDG?
Good or Bad NetworkDG?
Obviously, the platforms since the beginning of the year have been causing hate in the network faster disappears. You can find that good. On the other hand, the platforms since the beginning of the year also ensure that satire disappears faster in the network. That one can not find so much rather.
To make matters worse – I can not succeed without the indication that I personally rather the above classification incline – that in particular hate and satire in some cases not so easy are to be distinguished. That the decision on what is still art, opinion or simply something like “free speech” – that is, a statement that is encompassed by the liberties guaranteed by Art. 5 (1) of the Basic Law – is one of the most difficult ones, that of the law has to offer at all. It is not for nothing that there is no law in law, which is hate and just fun. Also not in the NetzDG. It states, however, that what previously had specialized courts and lawyers negotiating in often lengthy trials is now to be decided by Facebook and Twitter. And within 24 or 48 hours, otherwise the fine threatens.
No, what comes out, that can not be good in human discretion. “Should Facebook but lawyers busy – why should they be worse than others?”. This objection ignores a key point:
No public space
Facebook is private property. Legally and actually this means that you decide in a completely different coordinate system than government agencies. Basically, the platform is allowed to delete everything and every lock. Something like “free speech” does not exist on the platform as a claim against the operator. Thus, the platform does not have to justify the deletion. The decision to undelete can become very expensive since NetzDG. However, the platform will regularly decide on a purely economic basis. The advocates of a hate-free Internet learn these days that even a well-intentioned regulation is aimed quickly against the wrong people. This should be a warning to us.
Law firm Stephan Dirks
Stephan Dirks is a lawyer and specialist lawyer for copyright and media law in the law firm Dirks, based in Hamburg and Kiel. He also represents clients in the areas of trademark law, data protection law, competition law and the related fields of law. In these areas he is also active as author and lecturer for newspapers and magazines.