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Germany to fine Twitter for ignoring antisemitic content

The social-media platform could have to pay up to $55 million.

Seat of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany in Karlsruhe. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Seat of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany in Karlsruhe. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier this month, Germany’s Federal Justice Office began the process of fining Twitter, under the country’s Network Enforcement Act, for failing to remove hate speech. The German law requires social-media sites to remove illegal content within seven days, and for the most egregious material, within 24 hours.

The German office stated publicly that hateful material was published on Twitter, “which the authority considers illegal and, despite user complaints, was not deleted or blocked by the provider within the legally stipulated periods.”

Reportedly, Twitter faces a fine as high as €50 (nearly $55 million) in Germany. An email to a Twitter press account auto-replied with an excrement emoji, as Twitter owner Elon Musk has tweeted it would, and it wasn’t immediately clear how to otherwise reach a spokesperson.

In January, a German activist group sued Twitter for hosting content denying the Holocaust, which is a crime in Germany.

One of Musk’s first publicized decisions after buying the company was to decrease the content moderation division. Many saw that as welcoming hateful speech, while others had long believed that division was driven by partisan politics.

Europe has stricter laws about free speech than the United States does, and Musk had told the European Union he would comply with those rules.

Since Musk took over Twitter, there have been reports that antisemitism has increased on the platform, as well as on other social networks.

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