German Politician Decries Censorship, Follows It Up By Suing Facebook To Have A Critical Comment Deleted

from the dirty-AfD-swine dept

Germany's terrible speech laws continues to be tools for abuse and stupidity. A recently-enacted law holds service providers responsible for lingering "hate speech" to the tune of €50m per violation. Social media companies have shown a tendency to over-enforce, resulting in the preemptive removal of things even the badly-written law doesn't consider criminally hateful.

Whatever damage social media companies are doing in order to steer clear of massive fines, politicians are compounding by using the law to target opponents and critics. Courthouse News Service reports a German court has indulged a politician's hypocritical outrage to demand the disappearance of a critical, but hyperbolic, comment posted to Facebook.

A leading German nationalist politician has won a court injunction forcing Facebook to ensure a user’s slur against her can’t be seen in Germany.

In a post, a user had called Alice Weidel, co-leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, a “dirty Nazi swine” for reportedly opposing same-sex marriage.

Immediate blocking of the comment occurred in Germany, but Weidel's lawyers complained it hadn't been vanished hard enough, pointing out that German VPN users could still access the comment.

The court's injunction would apparently force Facebook to delete the comment entirely, despite its legality nearly everywhere else in the world. Facebook's only comment, via Reuters, was to note it had already blocked the content in Germany, which is all the law really requires.

This desperation to remove a comment referring to her as "dirty Nazi swine" is especially rich considering Weidel had previously complained about censorship of another AfD party member. The first collateral damage from the new hate speech law -- which occurred less than three days into its existence -- nuked a satirical magazine's mocking of AfD leader Beatrix Van Storch's anti-Muslim comments. Van Storch was blocked by both Facebook and Twitter for these comments, while the German law took down a satirical bystander. That prompted this response by Weidel and the AfD:

The AfD appears to want to make the new social media law a major issue by testing boundaries and provoking a response from social media companies and law enforcement authorities.

AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel wrote on Facebook and Twitter defending her party colleague and lamenting what she called the "censorship law," while sharing the text of von Storch's deleted tweet and repeating her complaints, while referring to "migrant mobs" instead of Muslim men specifically.

I guess Alice Weidel only dislikes government censorship when it targets speech she likes.


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  • identicon
    kallethen, 3 May 2018 @ 10:04am

    Hypocrisy doesn't appear to be verboten.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 10:11am

    some people just cant help making twats of themselves!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 10:16am

    Alice Weidel, meet the Streisand Effect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 10:34am

    unintended consequences?

    I wonder if calling someone a “dirty Nazi swine” in Germany might be considered anywhere near the level of unlawful hate speech as calling someone a “dirty Jewish swine” or “dirty Muslim swine”? Probably not, though libel concerns could kick in, as calling someone a Nazi in modern-day Germany is akin to accusing a person of a serious crime. No matter though, as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party seems basically a closet Neo-Nazi party that tries to walk a fine line between legal and illegal speech.

    It probably shouldn't surprise us that Germany's post-war censorship and thought-crime regime has gotten Germans so used to the absence of free speech that even the "bad guys" can take advantage of Germany's political and legal climate that considers the suppression of speech and thought as not only normal, but desirable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 10:36am

    Hate Speech is opinion by nature

    I feel that being against gay marriage is hate speech. If my feelings mattered in Germany, that moron Alice Weidel would be charged 50 Million each time she dared to repeat her idiotic stance. I think I would also be able to get her words vanished in Germany making her own persona start looking very disjointed and full of holes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 11:12am

      Re: Hate Speech is opinion by nature

      Both the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible state unequivocally that Sodomites must be killed for their abominations (as in Leviticus 20:13). But those holy books are not considered "hate" -- or are they?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 3 May 2018 @ 3:40pm

        The Christian Bible also stated unequivocally…

        …that the Old Laws were replaced by Christianity, and when
        it came to sodomy Christians were strictly warned to avoid
        harassing sinners so they could be saved and not driven away.

        Three times, no less, it says that it would be better
        [for self-identifying "Christian" bigots] that it would
        be better for them that a millstone be tied around their
        necks and they be tossed into the sea. ‌ Pretty unequivocal. ‌ ;]

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 3 May 2018 @ 10:14pm

          Re: The Christian Bible also stated unequivocally…

          “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or tittle shall nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” -- Matthew 5:18-19

          From this collection of fun stuff.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 3 May 2018 @ 11:39pm

            Precisely, and while sodomy is still a sin…

            …it doesn't place LGBTQ2+ folks in a worse position than
            any other sinners in the world. ‌‌ Jesus made us all equal.

            That's why the millstone is quoted three times. ‌‌ All bigots
            who stand in the way of salvation of any particular group
            of sinners just because they hate those people and their
            ways [while calling themselves Christian] prove themselves
            antichrists, literally enemies of Jesus and his sacrifice.

            Those characters never were real Christians to begin with,
            and making themselves the enemy of God while convincing
            themselves that they are fighting for Him is a sticky mental
            trap that virtually none will escape. ‌‌ They are the ones who
            will march proudly on Judgment Day but slink away in terror.

            It seriously would have been better if they had died sinners
            without ever having heard of or attempted Christianity.


            Honest skeptics and atheists act better in word and action:
            • They behave towards the weak or addicted with understanding.
            • They stand for what they believe in with honest thoughtfulness.

            Because they do so they are far more likely to become genuine
            Christians and even if not; more likely to be welcomed as friends
            while those who thought they were deserving are tossed out. ‌‌ ;]

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 4 May 2018 @ 9:56pm

              Re: never were real Christians to begin with

              Using “real” and religion in the same sentence? But religion isn’t about reality at all, it’s about what you believe.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 5 May 2018 @ 4:44pm

                Re: never were real Christians to begin with

                There are many false religions, including many counterfeits
                of Christianity; but the existence of so many similar fakes
                reliably indicates that there is an underlying reality which
                trumps them all. ‌ Those myths are based on truth but twisted
                to serve those seeking wealth and power in this world.

                People all over this Earth have all kinds of beliefs but when
                truth is revealed some folks tend to dump the false for truth;
                because religion is not reality and reality is not religion. ‌‌

                It's the difference between hoping for something and
                knowing it's real because you can see and touch it.

                Realization that Jesus is the Son of a LIVING God tends to
                blow away all that "religion" on contact, like antimatter . ;]

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2018 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: Hate Speech is opinion by nature

        But those holy books are not considered "hate" -- or are they?

        There must be a religious exception, like how adults who believe in invisible friends are crazy unless that friend is named "God" (citation: DSM-IV, Glossary, "Delusions").

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard M (profile), 3 May 2018 @ 1:14pm

    Pretty Standard...

    "I guess Alice Weidel only dislikes government censorship when it targets speech she likes."


    It is not like she is alone with this as this behavior is pretty standard and not just with politicians. For some really egregious examples pick just about any US University.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 2:08pm

    Did someone really say that

    Alice Weidel is a “dirty Nazi swine” ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 May 2018 @ 6:15pm

    Lacking on several points

    Usually I agree with the free speech stance of Techdirt, but this article is lacking on several points.



    Defamation is not protected speech, and even under the First Amendment, opinions may be defamatory if capable of being proven true or false.


    Calling someone a Nazi swine may be an actual assertion of fact even if couched as an opinion.

    Furthermore if the speech has been found unprotected by a court, the First Amendment would be no bar to an injunction banning republication of the speech.


    If the speech in this case is not protected, banning its repetition does not raise the same concerns as the hate speech law de facto compelling service providers to act as censors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 May 2018 @ 12:26am

    >>A recently-enacted law holds service providers responsible for lingering "hate speech" to the tune of €50m per violation.<<
    Looks like Tim really took that quote about a lie becoming the truth if you repeat it often enough as an incentive...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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