Germany to require social media sites to report hate speech

Technology

German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht makes a statement on hate crime and right-wing extremism, in her ministry, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. Sharing threats made by someone else could soon become a punishable offense in Germany, after the government approved a bill Wednesday designed to crack down on hate speech and online extremism. (Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — The German Cabinet has approved a bill that will require social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube to report certain hate speech to the police.

According to the bill passed by ministers Wednesday, internet companies will have to flag far-right propaganda, graphic portrayals of violence, murder or rape threats, posts indicating that someone is preparing a terrorist attack or distributing child sexual abuse images.

Social media sites are already required to delete such posts.

The measures, which still need to be approved by parliament, will also see the definition of criminal hate speech extended to include threats of rape or property damage and expressions of approval for serious crimes.

Crimes motivated by anti-Semitism will also result in increased sentences.

In a further measure, authorities will make it easier for politicians, volunteers and journalists to prevent others from obtaining their home addresses from public registers.

Jurists estimate the number of online hate speech cases in Germany each year to be in the six figures.

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