More Censorship Fun

This time Germany’s way cool new censorship law (NetzDG or Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, if you prefer) has seen to it that a German artist’s works be effectively banned on Facebook and Instagram because, well, no one even bothered to explain why this time.

Barbara

That road sign up there is a form of hate speech, you see. If you look closely, I mean. It’s sexist, right? Or is it racist (the dark part)? I don’t know but something is definitely distrubing about it and I think that the nameless employee who pressed on the Censor Sensor Button or whatever it is they call it was right on the money. Better safe than sorry, I say. When it doubt, censor it out. It’s good to know Big Bruder is watching.

“Über das Löschen von Beiträgen entscheiden irgendwelche Angestellte von privaten Firmen im Auftrag von Facebook und Instagram, die im Schnellverfahren entscheiden und nicht einmal irgendwelche Gründe für das Löschen nennen. Ich sehe die Freiheit im Internet dadurch mehr als nur bedroht, sie wird aus meiner Sicht dadurch ruiniert.”

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German Hate Speech Law Keeps Reaching New Levels

Of absurdity, I mean. Now satirical publications are up for grabs.

Fake

When a German neo-Nazi politician tweeted that German police were trying to “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men,” her account was briefly suspended — but when the satirical magazine Titanic put up its own tweet mocking the Nazi, their account was suspended, too…

Prior to the law’s passage, free speech advocates warned that this would happen, and Angela Merkel personally promised it wouldn’t. It only took three days for the first case to come to light.

Government regulation in action. You know the deal, folks. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate.”

What Goes Around…

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Big Brother.

Maas

Germany’s justice minister has fallen victim to the rules he himself championed against online social media, as one of his tweets was deleted following several complaints, Bild daily reported Monday.

The tweet dated back to 2010, when Heiko Maas was not yet a minister.

In the post, he had called Thilo Sarrazin, a politician who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, “an idiot”.

In der Debatte um das Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) wird Heiko Maas von einem Tweet eingeholt, den er vor sieben Jahren verfasst hat. Durch das neue Gesetz, das der SPD-Politiker und Bundesjustizminister entworfen hat, sollen strafbare Äußerungen im Internet schneller gelöscht werden.

Food For Thought Police

“Please spare us the thought police!” read a headline in Wednesday’s Bildzeitung.

Feige

As recently reported, the latest German censorship craze (exemplified by the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or “Internet Enforcement Law”) is already being abused by those who would make us think what we are told. This type of thing never takes very long, of course. I read this in a book in high school once long, long ago in a galaxy far away. It was called 1984 or something. The book, I mean.

Anyway, this law… meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted. The law which took effect on Jan. 1 can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly. Twitter has deleted anti-Muslim and anti-migrant posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and blocked a satirical account that parodied Islamophobia.

But the case I really like is this one here: A German thought criminal had the audacity to criticize Germany’s reticence to support the protests in Iran and write “one could get the impression that Germany has become an unbelievably cowardly nation” in Facebook. This horrid example of hate speech was enough to get the user promptly blocked.

The outrage about this outrage about the other outrage (I’m running out of outrages) among the German population also remains rather reticent, to say the least. But they are law-abiding citizens, after all. The Germans. They don’t want to commit any thought crime or anything.

Einer der beiden Fälle betrifft Irina Schlegel (33), die Chefredakteurin des Kreml-kritischen Recherchemagazins „InformNapalmDeutsch“. Sie schrieb am 1. Januar im Zusammenhang mit der deutschen Zurückhaltung zu den Protesten im Iran: „Man bekommt den Eindruck, Deutsche sind eine unglaublich feige Nation geworden“. Zwei Tage später löschte Facebook den Post und sperrte die Verfasserin für drei Tage.

Orwell In Da House

It’s been a long time coming, people. Now the New Germans finally have what they have wanted all along, it seems: Full-blown, voluntary, participatory state censorship (got a better term?). It’s what you’d call grass roots censorship, I guess.

Orwell

Beatrix von Storch, a leading figure in the Alternative for Germany party, is one of the first hit by new hate speech laws on social media… A top lawmaker from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was blocked from Twitter and Facebook on Monday after slamming the Cologne police for sending a New Year’s tweet in Arabic.

The first groundbreaking hate crime is wondering why the police in North Rhine-Westphalia tweet in Arabic? Damn. I need to get my brain properly washed. That rather freaks me out, too.  “What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?”

Brain Police 2.0 is out now, folks! Go get it before it gets you.

“Was zur Hölle ist in diesem Land los, wieso twittert eine offizielle Polizeiseite aus NRW auf Arabisch?”, schrieb von Storch. “Meinen Sie, die barbarischen, muslimischen, gruppenvergewaltigenden Männerhorden so zu besänftigen?”

German Of The Day: Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz

That means… Beats the hell out of me. I think it means something like Internet Enforcement Law.

Mass

At any rate, it’s this really clever new law pushed through by German Justice Minister Heiko Mass (SPD) – a particularly lame duck because his party is now history after last week’s election – that forces Internet companies like Facebook to remove “obviously illegal” posts (whatever that means) within 24 hour or pay big fines. This takes care of “hate speech” forever, see? Brilliant.

Of course it will also take care of a lot of posts that will have nothing at all to do with hate speech but will be blocked anyway by these companies. Just in case, you know?

Free speech ist not quite as free as it used to be in Germany. But it’s worth it, right?

Kritiker bemängeln, dass die Rechtsdurchsetzung in private Hände gelegt wird, und sie fürchten ein “Overblocking“: Die Betreiber könnten im Zweifel lieber zu viele Inhalte entfernen, um nicht mit dem NetzDG in Konflikt zu geraten. Dadurch gerate die Meinungsfreiheit in Gefahr.

 

The Mainstream Press Said No

The German literary establishment unanimously denounced it, too. It is a bad book. Bad book! It is a bad book of essays attacking said media/establishment – and the German government – for not taking citizens’ concerns about migrants seriously. Finis Germania has effectively been banned, in other words.

Book

This is not so terribly interesting, right? I agree. But what is interesting here is that the ban has turned Finis Germania into a bestseller. What does that tell us about what is really going on in Germany today? Down here were the little people live, I mean.

Don’t worry, though. This could never happen in your country, folks. Or could it?

Through its blind embrace of Angela Merkel’s open door to Middle Eastern migrants, the German media has lost the trust of a whole section of the German public. When the press calls something extreme, many no longer listen.

“What happens when the majority of Germans lose confidence and trust in mainstream leaders? Many of the Germans becoming disillusioned with mainstream politics and turning to these groups are not hardcore neo-Nazis. They don’t want to persecute the migrants or see them imprisoned, beaten up or killed. … They are concerned about Germany’s future. But Angela Merkel’s government refuses to give serious attention to these concerns and refuses to tell the truth about the impact the migrants are having and will have on the nation.”

Denn wer Antisemit ist, bestimmt der „Spiegel

Germany Really Pissed Off At Twitter Now

Tired of being called Nazialmanya by unidentified Twitter-types, the nation of Germany is now moving forward at full speed to punish Twitter ITSELF for allowing such reprehensible name calling to take place.

Nazialamanya

“As a country, I have feelings, too,” said the federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. “And you can bet that I’m going to see to it that not cleaning up certain types of hate speech like pronto-or-practically-immediately-already will be criminalized because, well, just about everything else here that has not been expressly permitted has already been criminalized, too. So there.”

Hundreds of Twitter accounts from media outlets to celebrities including popstar Justin Bieber, were hacked Wednesday, branded with the Turkish flag and messages being sent out in Turkish.

German Of The Day: Schweinefurz

That means pig fart. And pig farts are super hilarious here in Germany (Hey, German humor is what it is. I’m not passing judgement here or anything).

Pig farts

Unless, of course, they are directed toward foreign heads of state, so-to-speak.

A German court upheld  ban on a satirical poem which suggested Turkey’s president had sex with animals and watched child porn. The Hamburg court upheld its injunction issued in May banning re-publication of parts of the poem which it called ‘abusive and defamatory’.

A lamb or a llama fart probably probably wouldn’t have been all that bad in this guy’s poem, but pig fart? That just doesn’t cut it (Cut it, get it?).

Schweinefurz“ ist für Erdogan besonders ehrverletzend.

Our Fake News Is The Real Fake News

You know, just like our facts are the only facts that count? So don’t even THINK about muscling in on our territory, Facebook and Co.

Fake

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz (SPD) and Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) both came out swinging against fake news on Sunday.

In separate press interviews, the two German politicians discussed concrete plans to create laws banning platforms like Facebook from spreading fabricated stories presented as real news, something both men saw as harmful to democracy.

Thank goodness somebody is getting active on this, is all I can say. You need to understand that German state fake news providers not only have the responsibility of upholding the government party line, they must also ensure that those who are forced to finance official fake news production get the very most for their money. The money that isn’t theirs anymore, I mean.