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World European police in coordinated raids against online hate speech

13:55  03 november  2020
13:55  03 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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Police in Germany launched dozens of raids across the country on Thursday as part of a crackdown on incitement crimes being spread on the internet. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has said it searched residences in 13 federal states as part of a coordinated operation.

The proliferation of hate speech and fake news on social media has led to companies coming under increased pressure to take it down quickly. Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and Microsoft (O:MSFT) last year agreed to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours

BERLIN (Reuters) - European police launched coordinated raids in seven countries on Tuesday as part of a clampdown on online hatred and incitement to violence, the European Union law enforcement agency Europol and German prosecutors said.

a person holding a gun: Police officer holds a submachine gun during the Hells Angels demonstration in Berlin © Reuters/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE Police officer holds a submachine gun during the Hells Angels demonstration in Berlin a group of people walking down the street: German police plan to hunt out lockdown breakers © Reuters/ANNEGRET HILSE German police plan to hunt out lockdown breakers

In Germany, police searched 83 apartments and other buildings to seize evidence like smart phones and laptops. Prosecutors said 96 suspects are being questioned about hateful posts they made online.

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The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Lithuania for failing to prosecute perpetrators. In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Human Rights has condemned Lithuania’s failure to investigate online hateful comments against a gay couple.

hate speech online ” to help users notifying illegal hate speech in this social platforms, improve the support to civil society as well as the coordination The four platforms agreed to assess the majority of users’ notifications of in 24h also respecting EU and national legislation on hate speech and

One of the suspects is accused of making anti-Semitic comments while another insulted a female politician online, prosecutors in the German region of Rheinland Palatinate said in a statement.

The raids are part of an annual drive initiated by German prosecutors, joined this year for the first time by Italy, France, Greece, Norway, Britain and the Czech Republic under the coordination of Europol.

Tuesday's raids are focused on online posts that promote racism and xenophobia, a Europol spokesman said.

Germany has some of the world’s toughest laws on defamation, incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, with prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities.

A German law in force since 2018 demands that social networks delete or block obviously criminal content within 24 hours of receiving a complaint or face a hefty fine.

The legislation has been closely watched as concerns mount globally about hateful posts, but it has had a limited impact and has not stopped online hate speech in Germany, blamed for helping to fuel a wave of racist attacks in the last year.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson in Berlin and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, editing by Ed Osmond)

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usr: 1881
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