Self-regulation according to NetzDG
The FSM has been recognised as an institution of regulated self-regulation recognised by NetzDG.
The Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) came into force in 2017 and primarily intended to combat hate and fake news in social networks such Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. According to the law, online networks should delete illegal content. Additionally the NetzDG also provides for the possibility that social networks transfer the decision on the illegality of content to a state-recognised institution of regulated self-regulation. Since 2020 the FSM is one of these institutions.
The FSM is the first and so far only institution of regulated self-regulation recognised by NetzDG.
Provider’s legal obligations
The NetzDG defines extensive obligations for social networks – based on a total of 21 criminal offences. Online networks should delete obviously illegal content after 24 hours. Non-obvious illegal content must be deleted after 7 days.
In addition to a semi-annual report, the NetzDG also requires a transparent und suitable complaints procedure for all users.
Systematic violations can be punished with fines of up to 50 million euros. The Federal Office of Justice, which is responsible for imposing fines under the law, has drawn up guidelines on fines.
External expert committee decides
controversial legal issues
Full members of the FSM have the possibility, in more difficult cases, to consult an external body which decides on the illegality of the reported content. The external expert committee, the Review Panel consists of lawyers who decide independently.
If the providers use this option, they are bound by the decisions of the self-regulatory body and must then take the appropriate measures.
Decisions of the NetzDG Review Panel
The NetzDG Review Panel decides whether a complaint is justified, and if so, which kind of offence has been committed. In 2022 the committees made 98 decisions, of which 35 cases have been unlawful.
All decisions of the FSM are published in anonymous form in German.
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