Germany implements new rules to combat illegal content

A new German law has entered into force, requiring Internet platforms with more than two million users to proactively report and delete illegal content. The law was drafted last year in an effort to force companies ‘to take on their responsibility in question of deleting criminal content’. According to the law, illegal content needs to be removed within 24 hours after receiving a complaint. For more legally complex cases, companies have a week to delete content. If these deadlines are not observed, companies face fines of up to €50 million. The timely response to illegal content by social media platforms might be challenging; for example, Facebook claims that it ‘already receives hundreds of thousands of reports per week’. The law has also been criticised by politicians and activists, who claim that it could lead to censorship, leaving it up to companies and the state, rather than courts, to determine what can and cannot be posted online.