Hate speech is speech with hurtful content which aims to attack individuals or groups. It encompasses all forms of speech, including the written form, gestures or comments posted on social media platforms.
Hate speech posted online is often directed at minorities, including women, members of the LGBT community, people with special needs and/or foreigners. Additionally, it takes aim at religion, race or ideology. Often, hate speech threatens the individual or group and calls for violent behavior. The persecution of hate speech worldwide depends on the jurisdiction of the respective country. In 2016, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter agreed on an EU Code of Conduct which calls for the majority of illegal hate content to be erased within 24 hours of posting. Germany is one of the countries where hate speech can be prosecuted in cases of libel, incitement and insult.
The Bundestag is debating a draft law to force social media platforms to delete illegal content more quickly. Critics fear that it is too imprecise and could restrict freedom of speech. The justice minister disagrees.