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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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.

This Will Never Work Here

A neighborhood social network called Nextdoor where local residents (some call the neighbors) actually communicate with each other? Like, in a friendly way? In Germany?

Nextdoor

You’re wasting your time, folks. Germans hate their neighbors and are in a constant state of warfare with them. I know you think I’m joking here but I’m sad to say I’m not. Better luck next time. And keep an eye on your apple tree, pall. It’s about to grow over my side of the garden fence.

Oddity 367. Germans don’t naturally get along with their neighbors very well. Suing neighbors is not at all uncommon here. One of the reasons for this is that Germans like to mark off their territory. Disputes about territorial claims are inevitable. That’s why you often see people’s back yards completely fenced off or hedged in like small fortresses. Of course another reason for these disputes is that Germans just like to argue and are very litigious in general.

“Wenn du deinen Hund verlierst, können dir Online-Freunde ihr Mitgefühl zeigen, aber deine Nachbarn helfen dir bei der Suche.”

Germany’s Anti-Social Network

Facebook should do more to crack down on German hate speech and xenophobia about refugees online? Sure, why not? But maybe Germans should do more to crack down on the Germans doing the hating, too. Just a thought.

Facebook

Germany expects to see a record number of asylum seekers this year, most from war-torn countries like Syria and Afghanistan. The country expects to see 800,000 refugees through this year, and has pledged to accept more than any other European government, though its response has stoked some xenophobic riots. Last month, Germany’s ministry of justice criticized Facebook for not doing more to police hate speech, alleging that the social network reacts faster to remove sexual imagery than it does racist messages. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas announced the creation of the online task force after meeting with Facebook in Berlin on Monday.

Seeing That Other People Have Lives Makes Germans Absolutely Miserable

Germans always knew that Facebook (like Google and practically every other hi-tech company from, uh-hum, Amerika) was somehow EVIL. But at least now they know why.

Neid

Two German universities have discovered that there is rampant German envy, uh, running rampant on Facebook. Apparantly, having to witness other people’s wonderful love lives, super vacation adventures and stunning successes at work makes them near physically ill.

This couldn’t surprise anybody who has spent any time in this country, however. Der deutsche Neid ist einfach ohnesgleichen. German Neid (envy) is unparalleled. It permeates this society to such a degree that practically every individual in the country is affected. I can’t say why this is, of course. But my gut feeling theory is that Germans are, in the end, simply unhappy. And misery loves company.

“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry.”