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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  1. 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.

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