Hate on the net: BKA expects 150,000 criminal proceedings annually

Status: 11.01.2022 8:41 a.m.

From February 1st, social networks have to report criminal content to the Federal Criminal Police Office. The BKA then expects numerous criminal proceedings each year. The effectiveness of the law is disputed.

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) expects around 150,000 criminal proceedings per year due to the new law against hate in social networks. According to current estimates, around 250,000 reports under the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) ​​can be expected annually, which would result in around 150,000 new criminal proceedings, said a BKA spokesman for the “RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland”.

Central reporting office starts work

The “Central Reporting Office for Criminal Content on the Internet” with around 200 officers under the umbrella of the BKA will start work on February 1st, according to the spokesman. The aim is to “enable a consistent prosecution of the authors of such criminal content by the responsible law enforcement authorities in the federal states”.

The BKA is currently assuming that Facebook and Google will not report any allegedly criminal offenses for the time being, he said. Both had submitted applications for interim measures to the Cologne Administrative Court. Regardless of this, however, “other social networks with at least two million registered users would be subject to the statutory reporting obligation under the NetzDG as of February 1, 2022,” it said.

Reformed law is controversial

The reformed NetzDG provides that social networks no longer simply delete criminal content as before, but rather report it to the BKA. However, Facebook and Google consider it disproportionate to check all posts themselves for criminal liability and to have to forward them to the BKA in case of doubt. That is why they sued in July of last year – both in an urgent procedure and in principle. The Federal Ministry of Justice then decided in August not to insist on reports from both companies for the time being.

Recently, the judges’ association also spoke of 150,000 new criminal proceedings annually in connection with the NetzDG. The effectiveness of the NetzDG is controversial. Many users who fear restrictions on their freedom of expression on large platforms such as Facebook or Youtube are already switching to platforms such as Telegram, which, according to experts, often do not adhere to the NetzDG.


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