Coyer Quoted in WIRED on Germany's Plan to Fight Hate Speech by Fining Tech Giants

March 20, 2017

WIRED has recently written about Germany's proposed law that would fine social media companies up to €50 million ($53 million) for not responding quickly enough to reports of illegal content or hate speech. The law would require social media platforms to come up with ways to make it easy for users to report hateful content. Companies would have 24 hours to respond to “obviously criminal content” or a week for more ambiguous cases. Wired quotes Kate Coyer, director of the Center's civil society and technology project, who said that "placing too much responsibility on the shoulders of private sector companies carries its own danger. When those companies bear the primary responsibility for enforcing standards, they become empowered to put their own interests first. In a sense, legal measures delegating anti-hate speech enforcement to companies puts, say, a social network’s terms of service above the law." She added that "relying solely on government action carries its own problems. One month after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France, the French government claimed the power to block websites without a court order if it determined they promoted terrorism. Due process was denied, and the police became content regulators.These laws also have a domino effect of allowing regimes like Russia to justify their own troubling laws."