There is news for social media network providers operating in the European Union regarding prevention of hate speech and crimes: Austria enacted a law against hate and crime on social networks, the Communication Platform Act (KoPl-G). Following the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), both laws are intended to make the deletion procedure simpler, more transparent and shift responsibility to the social network provider. A unified European Law, the Digital Service Act (DSA), could soon replace these local country rules.
1. The German Network Enforcement Act
The German Parliament just recently passed the law amending the NetzDG which involves some changes for social networks providers. The NetzDG, enacted in 2017 in Germany, was the first in Europe to go against hate speech and crimes on social networks (more about the provision of the NetzDG on our previous blog).
The newest amendment, which was first proposed in April 2020 (more on our previous blog) contains the simplification of the reporting channels for the complaints procedure and added information obligations for half-yearly transparency reports of the platform operators. A direct right to information against the platform operator shall be created in the Telemedia Act (TMG) for victims of illegal content in networks. The amendment for the NetzDG provides that the user may request a review of the platform provider’s decision to remove or retain reported content and has a right to have the content restored. This shall prevent the so-called “overblocking”, i.e. when legal content is removed, and strengthen the freedom of opinion of users. The network provider is now obligated to obtain comments from concerning parties and give individual reasons for each decision. Video sharing-platforms are also subject to the NetzDG according to the new Sec. 3 (e) NetzDG but only in case of user-generated videos and broadcasts.