European is working on basic law for the internet
Limiting the power of Internet platforms: To this end, the EU Parliament has passed far-reaching changes to the law. But can this also curb violence and hatred on the Internet?
Threats, insults, discrimination or sexual harassment – when we talk about hate speech online, it is primarily about violence and hatred on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.
“Disabled, ugly Kanakenfotze, fuck off from Germany!” or “Go fuck a donkey in the desert!” – such messages reach the SPD politician Sawsan Chebli every day – up to and including death threats. They worry her, but above all such hateful comments on the Internet make her angry.
More protection through “Digital Services Act”
If Chebli tries to find the perpetrators or to prosecute them legally, she fails in nine out of ten cases. The power of the Internet platforms is too great, and they cannot use enough legal means. But that is about to change: today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament approved the “Digital Services Act”, or DSA for short.
With this law on digital services, the network should become a freer and safer space for users. The aim of the European Union is to create something like a basic law for the Internet with the “Digital Services Act”.
New law a tiger or bedside rug?
In the future, the DSA should regulate, among other things, the fight against illegal products, services and content on the Internet, enable users of services to claim damages or be better protected against disinformation. The approval of the EU Parliament is considered secured.
A revision of the more than 20-year-old e-commerce law was long overdue. But will the new legislation become a powerful tiger or will it rather end up as a bedside rug?
Criticism of the law: hardly any focus on victims
“Overall, we would have liked a stronger focus on protection against digital violence,” criticizes Josephine Ballon. The lawyer has been involved with the organization “Hateaid” for victims of digital violence for years and thinks that the law does not go far enough. In her opinion, it is “naïve to limit oneself to combating systemic risks, as these will not eliminate digital violence”.
The law will probably clearly regulate how to proceed in the event of violence and hatred on the Internet. And in the future, those affected can ask Internet platforms such as Facebook , Instagram, YouTube, Twitter & Co. to delete the relevant comments on the Internet.
Obligation to delete not planned
However, if the platforms do not agree to the deletion, the victim has no way of taking immediate action and continues to fail due to the power of the group.
An obligation to delete is still not planned, so it is even questionable whether supervisory authorities can enforce content to be deleted. “If you ask me, I tend to say it won’t work,” said the lawyer pessimistically.
Law wrapped up by the end of June 2022?
Nevertheless, French President Emmanuel Macron seems to be pursuing the ambitious goal of finally passing the law during his EU Council Presidency by June 30, 2022 – record-breaking, at least the timetable.
The SPD politician Chebli has already taken the consequences and has since deleted her Facebook account, on which she received a large number of hate comments.