Comment: Hatred cannot be erased

Right-wing extremists, citizens of the Reich, Q-Anon, militant anti-vaccination groups: these groups are radicalizing every day, manifesting themselves in arson, attacks on journalists or even murders such as that of a gas station in Idar- Oberstein. State demands, from the right of assembly to criminal law included, are blatantly ignored.

Joerg Heidrich is Legal Advisor and Data Protection Officer at Heise Medien; Lawyer and jurist specializing in IT law, he has been dealing with Internet and media law issues for more than fifteen years.

This is also not without consequences on the other side of society. She is getting more and more angry and angry because politicians, police and law enforcement have been adrift for months by a radical minority, but quite small, she apparently enjoys crazy freedom. .

Politicians have already identified the culprit of this social division: the operators of large social networks. While until now Facebook has been primarily targeted by national and judicial politics, Telegram is now the mother of all evils. A service that has never been called “Darknet in your pocket”.

The allegations are not unwarranted. Few of them will have seen each other personally what is really going on there in many groups: Calls for violence, death threats, anti-Semitism, human contempt and, above all, lies every second. But this is only part of the bigger picture, as Telegram simply serves millions of daily communication platform users and has also been on several occasions an important instrument for Democratic activists, for example in Belarus.

Nevertheless, national politicians like the new Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) are now in the process of “declaring war on” Telegram. And that says a lot about the powerlessness of German politicians in the face of this crisis. Because the attempt to make the operator of the social network primarily responsible for criminal comments on his platform has done little to prevent radicalization in certain sections of society on Facebook. This applies all the more to the approach of mainly blocking questionable “online hate” posts. This concept has already proved to be of little use in the fight against proven child abuse.

Because blocking and deleting illegal messages can help those affected, but leaves out the causes. In fact, most users shouldn’t even be particularly interested in having their hate speech post, which is several days old, stuck on a platform at some point. The transfer of responsibility from the individual user to Telegram or Facebook means that the authors of posts have little to worry about whether the more difficult and most criminally relevant might have consequences for them personally. And of course deleting the posts does not remove the hatred of the authors.

It seems curious why the network operator should take sole responsibility for postings – and not group operators. For example, on Facebook, even on the pages of German parties or media companies, there are violent and penal comments, for which the provider apparently does not consider himself responsible and which are not at all or badly moderated. .

In this regard, it is incomprehensible that every forum operator is responsible for the content of the user as soon as he becomes aware of it, but the administrator of a Facebook group, an Instagram presence or a YouTube channel may calmly withdraw from doing nothing. , after all, Facebook & Co are responsible.

Telegram has therefore replaced Facebook and is now at the center of political interests. This is how it works in the political attention economy. But let’s not kid ourselves: if Telegram could be banned tomorrow, the Hetz trailer would move on to the next provider and try again there. Suppliers like Parler are already ready and eagerly awaiting customers from the political fringes.

In any case, group hatred continues to spread on all social networks. A look at the DieInsider Research Group Reviews on Twitter reveals shocking content, especially in closed groups. And if you want to experience live hate and bullying in its most disgusting form, you should check out the many amazing comments on YouTube.

When did it become common in Germany for death threats that have now become quite commonplace to be accepted with a shrug at best? What society needs today are not simple solutions and populist promises. What we need is a defensive constitutional state with committed and adequately staffed law enforcement authorities.

In order to act against the ruptures of civilization, the police must be provided with manpower and modern technologies, necessary for years but still insufficiently implemented. And there is no doubt about it: Telegram, Facebook and Co. are also obligated to support prosecutors as best they can and provide them with the data they need.

The Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) ​​so far barely relevant in practice could help. However, it is legally controversial that its regulations even apply to Telegram. If this is the case, this service, like all other social network providers, would also be obliged from February 2022 to transmit the data of potential perpetrators to the Federal Office of Criminal Police (BKA) as soon as possible. who will then take charge of criminal proceedings. This could in fact help not only to regulate the networks, but also to arrest literal perpetrators for their illegal statements.

What we don’t need, however, are further cuts to the civil liberties of net citizens, for example in the form of a clear name requirement. The necessary legal instruments are available and should be used. After all, there is no token policy or swift action against hate speech and hate crimes, but a defensive and confident constitutional state. However, this requires the active support of social networks and providers, which should also be enforced by law if necessary. And of course, society is also invited to actively oppose far-right, anti-science, anti-Semitic or racist statements, not just online.


Disclaimer: This article is generated from the feed and not edited by our team.

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