Twitter: Violation of NetzDG could lead to million-dollar fine
Twitter is facing a hefty fine in the millions in this country. This is due to a violation of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG). The short message service is said to have disregarded its deletion obligations. Is this possibly related to the restructuring of Elon Musk as the new head of the social network?
Twitter disregards obligation to delete
Ever since controversial tech visionary Elon Musk moved into the chief days of Twitter in October 2022, one negative headline has followed another. Especially in the first days after Musk took over the short message service, it became clear that he could possibly drive the once so popular social network slowly but surely into the abyss. The Tesla boss made particularly heavy cuts to Twitter’s expenses. The extensive cost-cutting measures not only affected the server structure, causing experts to fear losses in the stability of the website. On top of that, a veritable wave of layoffs rolled over the company with the iconic blue bird logo. However, the personnel measures in particular could now prove costly for Twitter. Thus, the Federal Office of Justice (BfJ) has now announced that it has initiated proceedings against the short message service.
The accusation is that the social network has “violated its legal duty to deal with complaints about illegal content.” For this, the authority apparently already wants to have collected “sufficient evidence”. This emerges from a public notice of the BfJ. If the accusations prove true, this would be a serious violation of the NetzDG. This stipulates that content that is obviously illegal must be deleted within a period of 24 hours. According to the Catalog of Fines, the violation could result in Twitter having to pay a fine of up to 25 million euros. Due to the temporal connection with the mass layoffs at Twitter, one can probably assume a direct connection. Musk apparently no longer has enough employees to be able to comply with the deletion obligation to the extent required.
Disparaging tweets as the cause
However, the fine by Twitter is not yet really certain. For an actual violation of the deletion obligation, a system would have to be recognizable. Individual violations are usually not sufficient. The BfJ’s notification shows that in this case it is certainly possible to speak of a systematic violation. It is said to be about insulting statements that were published on Twitter over a “period of about four months and reported to the provider of Twitter by users as unlawful”. Now it is up to Twitter to comment on the allegations. If the suspicions on the part of the authority are substantiated and the competent court gives the “go”, there is probably nothing standing in the way of a fine notice against the short message service.
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