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Intermediary Liability

Some democracies sought to make platforms liable for the content, and even comments, they hosted. These platforms are ill-equipped for the job and likely to over-block or over-remove; their terms and conditions are often more restrictive of content than is compatible with human rights standards.

For example, Germany adopted the Network Enforcement Act, which requires tech companies to delete ‘obviously illegal’ content within 24 hours of being notified. Other illegal content must be reviewed within a week of being reported, and then deleted. Non-compliance carries fines of up to €50 million (EUR), despite the guidelines being based on vague and ambiguous terms, such as ‘insult’ or ‘defamation’.  [1]


[1] ARTICLE 19, Germany: The Act to Improve Enforcement of the Law in Social Networks, August 2017, available at