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Berlin to evaluate online hate law as minister falls victim

AFP  |  Berlin 

signalled today it was open to amending a controversial combatting online as the fell victim to the rules he himself championed.

The move came after deleted a post by dating back to 2010 before he was appointed justice minister, in which he called a fellow "an idiot".

The post was deleted after received several complaints, fuelling a simmering row over the new regulation which critics say stifle

spokesman said an evaluation would be carried out within six months to examine how well the new was working.

"It's best to conduct the evaluation with an open mind, and then we'll see what experience can be drawn from it, what impact and then all that would be weighed up," he told reporters.

adopted the law, one of the toughest in the world, after a surge in racist and incendiary speech online, particularly since the arrival of more than one million asylum-seekers since 2015.

The legislation, which came into force on January 1, requires to remove and other illegal content, or risk fines of up to 50 million euros (USD 57 million).

Companies such as and have 24 hours to remove posts that openly violate German after they are flagged by users.

But critics the companies into taking a pro-active stance in deleting potentially offensive posts, effectively handing them the power of


Parties including the AfD, the pro-business FDP, far-left Linke as well as Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies CSU are lining up to demand it be scrapped or amended.

The row returned to haunt the over the weekend when he found his tweet about Thilo Sarrazin, a who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, had been deleted.

Speaking to Bild on Monday, Maas said he "did not receive any information from Twitter about why the tweet was deleted", admitting there are "things that I would no longer tweet today."

Barely a week after coming into force, the new law has sparked intense debate as it snared high-profile individuals.

Far-right became the first prominent to run afoul of the new rules with posts deleted from both Twitter and

Von Storch, of the anti-immigration AfD party's group, had criticised for sending a New Year's greeting in Arabic on Twitter.

"What the hell is going on with this country? Why is an .. tweeting in Arabic?" she wrote. "Did you mean to placate the barbaric, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men?"

Her colleague is facing a criminal complaint over a tweet that called Boris Becker's son a "half-negro".

The AfD capitalised on discontent against a mass influx of asylum seekers to since 2015 to make the strongest showing for a far-right party in a national election in the post-war era.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 08 2018. 20:55 IST
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