The Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks NetzDG. The law covers defamation, dissemination of propaganda material, incitement to commit serious violent offense endangering the state, public incitement to crime, incitement to hatred, and the distribution of pornography. Pursuant to Article 14 (3) of the E-Commerce Directive, Member States are allowed to establish “procedures governing the removal or disabling of access to information”. Moreover, the German law against hate speech forces online platforms to remove “obviously illegal” posts within 24 hours or risk fines of up to €50 million. Aimed at social networks with more than 2 million members, primarily Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, the law was passed in June 2017 and gave platforms until the end of the year to prepare for the regulation. A comprehensive 2019 analysis of the NetzDG can be found here.

In the fall of 2020, the Bundestag is poised to tighten its online hate speech rules and force platforms to be even more proactive about addressing hate speech by alerting law enforcement and in some cases revealing users’ identity to the authorities. Read more here.