At the very least, the warning shot has acted as follows: Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD) in his first draft of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) threatened to impose a fine of up to 50 million euros for the operators of social networks, if they did not delete “obviously illegal” content within 24 hours. This also caused headlines internationally, from which sometimes a certain reverence spoke.
Facebook and Illegal Content
Maas says it is serious and is going on a confrontation course with US companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, which play on the subject of hate and false notices on time – that was the impression the minister wanted to convey. On Wednesday, the draft was passed by the Cabinet about Facebook.
The 50 million euro fine has shrunk from the constant threat to the theoretical option. In the first version it was clear that the first infringement of the law could lead to a fine. In the now adopted version, however, the following statement states: “As a rule, the offense is not already caused by a one-time violation of the duty to manifestly illegal content within 24 hours of receipt of the complaint or other illegal content within seven days Delete or lock “. (Spiegel Online had first reported on this change.) And even more clearly:
“To protect the freedom of expression”
“A cautious approach of the fine is indicated”
This may seem like a pullback, but it illustrates the dilemma of Maas and the federal government. If they decide to outsource the decision about what is “obviously unlawful or illegal content” to listed private companies and combine them with extremely short reaction times, they will be in doubt As the risk of having to pay millions of euros. Civil rights activists, trade unions, lawyers and oppositions fear “extinguishing organs” and damage to freedom of expression.
The alternative would be to tax the taxpayers for the clean-up work in the social networks, while their operators can still earn their billions in peace. For the juridical evaluation of innumerable comments, pictures and videos, the already overloaded prosecutors and courts needed significantly more resources that the state would have to provide. This variant would also be difficult to communicate to the public.
Doing nothing is also no solution
Facebook and Future Features
There is no question of simply doing nothing in Facebook illegal content. (Democratic) governments are already sluggish, powerless and unintentional if they want to follow the ever-evolving US Internet business. The rampant hatred in the network goes from users, not from the network operators. But giving victims the feeling of being helpless is a political no-go, just in election times. So the state must be able to act. Maas, who has to navigate between these three bad options in future, now emphasizes that the “NetzDG” is intended to “concretize”, which the companies have long been obliged to do. For some, this may sound like the classic career of a draft bill, and this has not even gone through Parliament and the Federal Council: as a tiger bounded, as a bed mat.