Back to blog

In Germany, online hate speech has real-world consequences

See blog

Readers' comments

Reader comments are listed below. Comments are currently closed and new comments are no longer being accepted.



Poor Germany! Why should they have to deal with the flood of refugees - real and fake - that the criminal aggression of the US and UK is responsible for creating in the first place?


Germans are trying to prove that not talking about a problem makes problem disappear.
This is essence of banning criticism on social media.
Sane people would point that correlation does not equal causation. Censorship of social media will not diminish problems caused by migrants, only that attacks on migrants will happen without previous activity on social media (which will be censored out).


"illegal speech" and "free speech",
"illegal speech" and "free speech",
go together like horse and carriage.
this, I'll tell you, bro~~~ther,
you can't have one without the o----ther!
you stupid.


Maybe the German government should put more effort into preventing attacks *by* refugees against their citizens, instead of persecuting people for WrongThink.


Clearly, what Germany intends is not simply repression of incitement to violence but repression of any objection to their immigration policies. This is based on the unproven allegation that it is "speech" that provokes violence and not the consequences of uncontrolled immigration.
The influx of migrants and the shocking increase of rape and other violent crimes by them has sparked a backlash among some Germans. German authorities apparently define "violence-inciting speech" as including any opposition to the Muslim migrant influx, no matter how reasoned. Leftist and Muslim groups insist that any form of criticism of multiculturalism is the same as hate speech. German politicians urging their party to use the presence of foreigners in Germany as an election campaign issue have been arrested.
Obviously, this suppression will start to include American media showing in Germany that does not meet German standards. Chief among these is Twitter, which the Germans claim deletes just 1% of what it considers unacceptable, but, clearly, posted comments in media like the Washington Post is included. Strangely, very little has been mentioned about anti-semitic posts in Germany although as is true in all of Europe the Jews, rather than e Muslims are the chief recipients of violence.
The inevitable is rapidly approaching. American media will have to choose between continuing using American standards of free speech or be banned from exposure in Germany. Indeed even this post would probably be banned.


Important is crime *by* migrants, and how it correlates with public sentiment. The chart carefully omits it. It is only visible that migrants mass-assaulted locals in Cologne after number of anti-migrant posts fallen down about four times.
Fact is, Germany has big problem with both rule of law and freedom of speech.


If the Economist wrote this article about Chicago south side it would sound like this. Black community is under siege from mass shootings and violence. A non American would think white Americans are killing blacks. The reality is that the liberal media never reports about black on black crime or El Salvadorians killing each other. But should a cop (white in particular) shoot a black gang member, the liberal media would go nuts. On an average weekend 10-15 blacks are shot dead by other blacks in Chicago. Not to mention guns are banned in the city. Germany did not have such a big crime problem until Merkel took in a million immigrants with no buy in from Germans. No doubt Germans would be furious about this. Posting their feelings online is a good outlet and should be allowed.


Word has real-world consequences, as the one uttered by Trump shows.
I guess that etymologically 'shit' is related to 'refuse' (as a noun) which in turn is related to 'refugee', therefore, one should properly name 'refugee' as 'freedom seekers'.


This might explain why Trump voters were physically assaulted after his victory last year coincided with all the left-wing vitriol spewed online..
In Germany, Facebook speech might land you in jail, but groping and harassing women on New Year is a victimless crime!


As an engineer who worked in evaluating results from experiments and monitoring, I wouldn't dare to claim that these graphs are correlated. I wouldn't be surprised if the people proposing the correlation don't believe in it by themselves. Otherwise, why to look up the internet speed at all?
A correlation with real life crimes conducted by the refugees is far more likely.


Protecting the most unpopular speech provides protection to the free-speech of everyone. Censorship is the norm around the world and in everyone of those countries the justification for repression is officially for the public good. Whether it's in Turkey, China, Russia or Sweden. Censorship is always to protect Government officials and keep criticism away from policy, often corrupt unpopular policy. Germany should know this well considering its history. Over the years I have developed a very negative opinion of Angela Merkel, truly one of the worst leaders in modern times. She is literally turning Germany into Turkey in more than one way.


TE: "...a law requiring social-media companies to delete “clearly illegal” content from their platforms within 24 hours, and less clear-cut posts within a week, or face fines of up to €50m ($60m)..."

I suspect another unintended effect of this costly regulation will be to create a sizable entry barrier to the social media platform industry-- for only large incumbents or well-funded market entrants will be able to afford to pay to review their users' many posts and afford the inevitable fines.


Last week, police in the Uk arrested nine people who posted comments to Facebook about sex-trafficking rings called "grooming" who target white British girls who are groomed, sexually abused and the trafficked by mostly Muslim men of South Asian descent in Newcastle. Those arrested were accused of posting comments to Facebook that mentioned that most of the gang members were Muslins, and hence those comments were pursued by police.
Police recorded two cases of racially aggravated public order offences among responses to the news articles and have now tracked down nine people responsible for posts, “deemed to be offensive and potentially criminal.” They have been arrested and charged.
So far, none of the gang members have been arrested.


Does anybody suspect that 99.999% "crimes against refugees" are caused by refugees attacking each other?

umghhh in reply to guest-aalsiswa

Clear cases of fraud trough claims of young age have been revealed only after murders on young female teenagers by their much older 'boyfriends'. The age issue is important as being a young refugee means you have preferential treatment.
As per modern day German definition of the tern: age checks on anybody claiming to be a refugee are racism. So I would assume this means at least big part if not most of young claimants are just frauds.

I wonder if people (there are quite some NGOs and politicians but also quite some journalists) do not see how this approach to reality makes people suspect all of so called refugee of being petty criminals and majority being potential rapists or even murderers. This I think is exact the opposite of what such noble campaigns are trying to achieve.

nearmsp in reply to Bluhorizons

The British standards for free speech are close to German standards and The Economist goes by British standards not US. So no surprise if posts critical of the liberal view are deleted. WSJ is the only publication, they never delete any posts from subscribers.