Actions have consequences. A few months ago, Elon Musk laid off thousands of Twitter workers in a drastic and, to some extent, absurd cost-cutting move that left key departments of the social network understaffed.
In addition to getting rid of its Trust and Safety Council, which served to advise Twitter on content moderation policies, it got rid of most of the moderation team worldwide. And, as you might imagine, that has had consequences.
Disinformation and hate speech accounts and tweets have increased in recent months due to Twitter’s low content moderation capacity, which relies on automated responses and occasional human review. And this must not have pleased Germany, which could fine Musk’s platform for violating a national law that requires the removal of hateful content on social networks.
The German Federal Office of Justice announced a few days ago in a press release that it has conducted proceedings under the Network Enforcement Act, also known as the German Social Networking Act or NetzDG, after determining that there are “sufficient indications of failures” in Twitter’s complaint handling processes.
The NetzDG requires social networks to respond within seven days, or 24 hours in the case of more serious content, to reports of illegal content, checking what has been reported and removing the content if it is confirmed to be illegal. This type of illegal content is governed by the German Criminal Code, which includes concepts such as hate speech, abuse and threats, and anti-Semitism.
With fines of €50 million ago, German social media law has so far not been attempted to be applied to any case of content moderation infringement by any social network, something that denotes the great lack of moderation on Twitter and the great escalation of hate speech content.
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