Twitter complies with Germany's new hate-speech laws by cutting off the account of a satirical magazine that mocks hate speech


Originally published at:


It Took Only Three Days For Germany’s New Hate Speech Law To Cause Collateral Damage

Contrary to the Techdirt headline, it’s not the law that caused the collateral damage but Twitter’s crappy and corner-cutting attempt to comply with it. It would have taken any human tasked with finalising a bot-flagged suspension less than 30 seconds (let alone the mandated 24 hours) to discover that the Titanic account is owned by a satirical magazine (probably less for a German human, since the magazine was founded in 1979).


Maybe “satirists” will be forced to make actual jokes now, instead of simply saying racist things and expecting you to find it funny from context.


“[S]aying racist things” is not what satire (or most satirical content) is about as a whole. If it’s topical now, it’s probably because racists seem to have a new found courage to speak their minds without as much fear of repercussion. And the satirists rise up to address that (and more).

Historically, satirical publications go back a long ways in Germany. Simplicissimus for example…


Twitter is a disease, really.


There is a time and a place for satire, and apparently Germany right now isn’t it. I’m starting to wonder when it gets old in the US? Charlottesville didn’t do the trick?


There is a German word to express my feelings about this.



Kudos for mentioning the “Alter Simpl”, which was in some ways the Charlie Hebdo of its era.

On a side note, there is still a public house in Munich called the Alter Simpl, named because the editorial staff of Simplicissmus would gather there for drinks.


One of it’s horrific symptoms is the color orange


There’s nothing in the German hate-speech law about suspending users’ accounts. If Twitter does that they’re doing it based on their own terms and conditions, and presumably either as a passive-aggressive form of punishment or else to keep the users in question from posting more hate speech for some time (and thereby giving Twitter more stuff to look at with a view to deleting it or being fined).

The “network enforcement law” is singularly unpopular here in Germany for a number of reasons (including that it is an attempt to privatise judicial enforcement) and it falls soundly into the category of “we must do something, this is something, so we must do it”. It was basically the idea of Social Democrat minister of justice, Heiko Maas, and was very hurriedly enacted on the very last day of the previous legislature, while most legislators were off celebrating the marriage-equality law they had just passed. It is not by any means one of the finest specimens of German law-giving and it is probably not long for this world.


Roger That! I read you 5 x 5!



Another glorious fig leaf from dogoodniks!


I love that the law has real teeth and such high fines. Here in the U.S. the fines for breaking most business law are so low they are just the cost of doing business.


As a matter of fact the law only even applies to social networks with at least 2 million registered users in Germany. You can figure out for yourself which ones that might be (the fingers of one hand will probably be quite enough to count them) – and at least one of those has rather deep pockets, so the fine must be pretty steep for them to even take notice.


Whoa. That’s a hell to live up to - for CH. Seriously, the Simplicissimus was playing in a different league than Charlie, both satirically and in matters of literary style and quality.


No no no no. You got it wrong. It definitely is!


It’s not just concerns over satire that make hate speech laws troubling – it’s that freedom of speech is actually freedom of thought, and trying to regulate how people think and feel is doomed to fail.

I always think it’s better to let people express just what’s in the darkest, ugliest corners of their soul, because that’s the best way for those elements to be challenged.

Plus, other measures just drive these things underground.



LOL – ok, if you prefer war to, say, an ongoing debate within the wider culture… . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Still funny tho.