Germany’s pioneering online content moderation law, the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), will soon be upgraded. Amendments to the law, which include requiring tech companies to proactively report extremist content to law enforcement, simplifying the user’s ability to flag suspected illegal content, and mandating that companies disclose how they manage cases that occur on their platform and with what technology, are promising steps forward in Germany’s attempt to prevent online extremism from translating to real-world violence.
Leaders of the European Union (EU) last week received an unprecedented letter from 235 lawmakers representing 30 nations and 25 EU member states, urging the body to ban Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah and designate it in its entirety as a terrorist group. The letter, known as the Transatlantic Declaration on Hezbollah, was sent to Brussels ahead of the July 18 anniversary of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Cultural Center in Buenos Aires and the 2012 bombing of a passenger bus carrying Israeli tourists at the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. Hezbollah was linked to both terrorist attacks.
CEP Webinar: “Regulating Against Extremist Content Online – Discussion on The Upcoming EU Digital Services Act”
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) invites you to join us for a webinar discussion on the upcoming European regulation of extremist content online in the context of the Digital Services Act. This 90-minute webinar will be conducted in English via Zoom on 14 July 2020 at 17:00 CEST / 11 a.m. EDT.
Today, Germany designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization, banning all of its activities in the country. The announcement by the Federal Ministry of the Interior came hours after German authorities raided properties in Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Berlin, detaining several suspects accused of providing financial and propaganda support to the terrorist group. Germany had previously designated only Hezbollah’s so-called military wing as a terrorist group, allowing Hezbollah’s political supporters to freely operate in the country. Germany joins the Netherlands as the only EU member states to recognize the Iran-backed group as a single entity. The UK also designated Hezbollah in March 2019.
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Berlin conducted a new study between January 31st and February 14th to test big tech’s compliance with Germany’s 2018 NetzDG online content moderation law. The law in its current form requires online platforms to remove “manifestly illegal” content within 24 hours only after it has been reported by users. CEP’s study revealed that YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram removed a mere 43.5 percent of clearly extremist and terrorist content, even after that material was reported for their illegal nature under the NetzDG.
Extremist Content Online: Alleged Shooter In Deadly German Attacks Celebrated By White Supremacists On Telegram, Chan-Style Imageboards
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. This week, white supremacist Telegram channels and chan-style imageboards celebrated the alleged shooter in two deadly attacks in Hanau, Germany that left nine dead. Additionally, CEP located ISIS content on Telegra.ph, and also located an ISIS Amaq video on multiple websites including Telegram and RocketChat. Also, an accelerationist white supremacist Telegram channel urged viewers to kill elected officials. Finally, two videos featuring an accelerationist song advocating for the murder of Jews, people of color, Latinos and immigrants that included background Atomwaffen Division (AWD) footage were also located on YouTube.
Following the shooting in Hanau, Germany, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) warns against underestimating the threat posed by right-wing extremism.
CEP issued a statement in response to Facebook’s published blog pledging to develop new technology to root out extremists on its platform. While commending the objective, CEP noted that Facebook's messages were vague, lacking in terms of specifics, and raised serious questions about transparency and accountability
CEP and the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD), at an event held in Berlin, Germany, today announced the publication of a handbook designed to help German educators understand and properly respond to difficult and sensitive cultural and religious issues, including recognizing the signs of radicalisation.