is entered, Since the network enforcement of the law, in short NetzDG, a year ago in force, it is criticized by experts and opposition politicians, is sharply. Sascha Lobo called it a “stupid act”, the organization reporters without borders warned of a cut in the freedom of expression and spoke of a “steep a template for dictators”. Network of politicians, especially outside of the Grand coalition calling for improvements, or the abolition of the law. Introduced it had been under the then Minister of justice, Heiko Maas. His goal: Hate Speech and illegal incitement in the social networks to fight by their owners will be forced to block illegal content upon receipt of relevant complaints quickly.

New reports of Facebook and Google now give an impression of how the NetzDG has had in the past year, actually. In the so-called transparency reports, which the law provides for semi-annually, a list of the companies, how often users in the second half of the year 2018, posts have complained, and how often they that’s why something deleted or locked.

Four insights after a year of NetzDG:

1. On Facebook, the NetzDG is not a success with the public

In the second half of the year 2018 have been reported on Facebook significantly less contributions than in the first six months. Overall, users have tried between July and December, to 1048 contents remove the new report. This corresponds to a decline of almost 40 percent, and is a surprisingly low number in view of the wide discussion on hate in social networks. Also on Twitter were reported in the second half of the year, less content than in the first half of the year.

critics of Facebook had already seen the higher number from the first half of the year as evidence that the forms for NetzDG-were hidden complaints to complicated in the Depths of the settings menu.

Facebook, by contrast, refers to a second way, the user contributions can report that it existed before the NetzDG: right next to a Post violations of Facebook’s house with just a few clicks of rules, the so-called Community Standards, report. This is done according to Facebook much more frequently. Anyway, Facebook checks every reported Post, first of all, if he violated the Community Standards.

the NetzDG to find the reporting options for the users so difficult? The Federal office of justice, to monitor compliance with the law, examines the currently. The criteria according to which this should happen is not clear, however.

2. Political crimes in NetzDG-Lock always play the main role

The NetzDG is not only in the case of offences such as sedition or the Use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations applied. The second major area of insult, libel and slander.

On Facebook, for instance, were stocks from July to December of 2018, due to this crime a total of 179 posts locked, for sedition, but only a total of 54.

Also on YouTube, these two areas play the main role: 11.901 because of personality infringement or insult were locked in the same period 19.935 contributions because of hate speech or political extremism. The Figures confirm a Trend that became apparent already in the first Transparency, which had published Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Just slander cases are not, however, solve at first glance. The platforms you to edit, nevertheless, in most cases within 24 hours, to which they obliged the law. Whether these rigid requirements, lead to really, legally, be always made the best decisions, remains open.

3. Not every report user as illegal, will be deleted.

YouTube away his new report, as in the first half of the year, only about a quarter of the reported contributions. In the case of Facebook, the rate increased slightly, from 21 percent to 35 percent.

From the company, it means that the sun is simply the fact that you get less manifestly unfounded complaints. In the first few months of users would want to test the notification procedure.

4. Not all of the major networks fall under the NetzDG

it is noticeable, of whom there are no transparency reports: Some of the major networks, about the seditious content and obviously illegal Posts will be published that do not fall under the law. The same applies for the chat platform, Discord, although you can also chat in the public channels. It organized, among other things, the rights of the Troll-project Reconquista Germanica.

When it came to the end of August in Chemnitz, Germany, to extreme right-wing riots were spread hateful messages and incorrect messages about the public channels of the Chatapp Telegram. Also, the Russian social network VKontakte is Right as a retreat, in the people verhetzungen less likely to be removed. All of these platforms do not fall under the NetzDG. Either because they are not classified as Telegram as a Messenger and not as a social network, or because they have less than two million German users.

Also, the Facebook subsidiary Instagram released no report on the own-extinguishing practice. The simple reason: Less than 100 users, have complained to the NetzDG on the content. So Instagram is below the threshold, the platform must publish according to law a report. Also, the rapidly growing App TikTok has so far published no report.

Who needs to put everything in the open, you know, and in the competent Federal office for justice not exactly. The law provides that the authority was actively considering whether or not a network falls under the NetzDG. The companies report themselves.


the question Remains, whether the law against incitement and disinformation helps, as the government has wished for. The extent to which it prevents that person posted Enver eight at the end of statements? Martin Turner, the checks with its youth media protection organisation, FSM, regular reporting procedures, says: “of Course, you can find still criminal incitement on social networks. But the sharp spikes, the particularly sharp statements have become our subjective impression is that something less.”

Miro Dittrich, of the observed for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, right-wing extremism in social networks, but that the NetzDG has changed under the right users less content, but more the language: “the extreme Right to adjust your choice of words now so that your Posts are just below the limits of what is to delete the company. The statements, however, remain ultimately largely the same.”

the NetzDG appears after a year, still immature: It causes the large network operators to block of a few Thousand content. This is of course good for the victims. However, what is allowed and what is not, is not for the citizens are still not really transparent or comprehensible.

It is reviewed by a authority, which finds that actually, everything is running very well. And was not sufficiently equipped to actively check whether the law to reality, to fit in the smaller networks. It is supervised by a Ministry that wants to only look three years after the entry into force, if everything is working well. By 2020, there should be an Evaluation of the regulation.

After all, something is happening: The observation of the organization of the FSM has applied for in December to get your certification as external assessment body for particularly controversial cases. In the framework of a regulated self-regulation, the platforms are supposed to leave ambiguous cases to decide. When the FSM is approved by the Federal office of justice, is not decided yet.

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.