Twitter claims Germany’s anti-hate speech law may force sharing personal data unnecessarily

Twitter filed a lawsuit against the German anti-hate speech law because it is concerned it would be asked to share personal user data before there is anything illegal.

© Joshua Hoehne

Twitter filed a lawsuit at the administrative court in Cologne against online moderation rules coming into force in Germany on February 1.

The German anti-hate speech law compels social media platforms to quickly delete criminal content and report offenses to the authorities.

With the regulation voted in 2018, social platforms are responsible for removing toxic content.

But Twitter challenges a provision of the law as it claims it can require to proactively share personal user data to law enforcement when there is no illegal behavior or any crime committed.

We are concerned that the law provides for a significant encroachment on citizens’ fundamental rights”, a Twitter spokesperson said.

Facebook and Alphabet’s Google unit also filed similar lawsuits against the German law in the summer.

In India, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit last May before the High Court of Delhi because the government asked to be able to identify the source of viral messages, which the company considered a violation of users’ privacy.

In November, Australia said it wanted to make Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms accountable if they didn’t disclose the identity of users behind malicious content.

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