Fighting Hate Speech and Fake News. The Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) in Germany in the context of European legislation

New legal challenges emerge from the Internet as social networks make it possible for false information to be published for political purposes as well as a new level of anonymous hate speech online. These challenges are amplified by the international connectivity of social media users. Legislators face a new task of balancing an effective fight against Fake News and Hate Speech online with the right to freedom of expression. The “thin line” between unfavorable and illegal content must be upheld and respected by the laws counteracting the latter.

This paper takes a closer look at both Hate Speech and Fake News and how they are counteracted against in the EU territory and specifically by the German legislator with the new Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG).  After examining Hate Speech and Fake News, the paper gives a brief overview of the new German law and then continues to explore its effectiveness and legality in the national, European and international legal sphere. It ends with an overall evaluation of the situation regarding Hate Speech and Fake News and offers improvements and alternatives for the NetzDG.

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