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Musk’s impact on content moderation at Twitter faces early test in Germany  

By Editor - Mon Nov 21, 12:06 pm

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A German law requiring social media platforms to promptly respond to reports of hate speech — and in some cases remove illegal speech within 24 hours of it being brought to their attention — looks like it will provide an early test for whether Elon Musk-owned Twitter will face meaningful legal consequences over how recklessly he’s operating the company. Since the self-proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist’ took over Twitter at the end of October and set to mass sackings and radical policy shifts (including, just this weekend , lifting a permanent suspension on former U.S. President Trump), concern has been riding high among lawmakers and social media users that Twitter could degenerate into a hellscape of low-to-no content moderation under its new staff-liquidating, shitpost-loving billionaire owner. Thing is, some content moderation laws do apply to Twitter internationally — and Germany has one: The ‘Enforcement on Social Networks’ law, commonly referred to as NetzDG (an abbreviated version of its full German name), allows for fines of up to €50 million for failures to comply with reports to takedown illegal hate speech. But given Musk’s mass Twitter layoffs — and a number of notable resignations since he took over, including the departure of the former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth — it’s not clear how much core content expertise and moderation resource is left in-house to enable it to comply with various existing regulatory requirements falling on the business in international markets like Germany and India . At some estimates, mere hundreds of employees are left at Twitter out of a prior headcount of around 7,500 following Musk’s “hardcore” ultimatum to staff last week . Entire international offices have reportedly been decimated, attracting some swift attention from lawmakers — such as in Spain, where scores of staff were reportedly laid off, which led the minister for work to tweet a warning to the company earlier this month about the need to comply with local labor laws (which she followed by saying the labor inspectorate was acting on the case after union complaints). Staff in Germany have also been among laid-off international employees at Twitter — with a local union reporting earlier this month that a large number of software engineers had received Musk’s notorious ‘agree to be hardcore or resign’ email late last week.

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Musk’s impact on content moderation at Twitter faces early test in Germany

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