Hate speech on Social media is becoming a more and more prevalent issue with sometimes devastating effects if not spotted accurately or deleted in time. The German parliament on Friday the 30th of July 2017, officially passed a law that could impose sharp fines on social media companies that fail to spot and delete Hate Speech from their social media platforms.
Under the new “Network Enforcement Act” companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and others could face fines of up to €50 million ($57 million) for failing to remove hate speech from their platforms. The majority of German MPs voted in favour of the “Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz” also commonly know as the “Facebook Law” after months of deliberationto better tackle hate speech online and partucularly on social media platforms where the majority of users nowadays spend their time online.
In a statement, Facebook noted they fully shared the vision and goal of the German government in eliminating hate speech from its platform.
It added: “We believe the best solutions will be found when government, civil society and industry work together and that this law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.”
On the other side, the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, who was on of the great supporters of the new law, said: “Freedom of speech ends where the criminal law begins.” Maas said official figures showed the number of hate crimes in Germany increased by more than 300% just in the past few years clearly indicating something needed to be done.
Conclusively it has been a long time that something has been necessary to be done in regards to hate speech, trolls and other social media “abusers” but nonetheless, I am not necessarily certain that the above alone can solve such similar future issues online. The online world is an ever growing ..monster as such and it is consequently imperative to educate children from a young age on their online social behaviour in order to create a culture that will be engrained in the psychology fro ma young age.
We are hence now at a tipping point where changes in educational systems need to be made to accommodate such new concepts and behaviours online so as to apprehend and avoid future mishappenings.