By James Gamble • 30 November 2022 • 16:54
German police conduct house searches and 'interrogations' in crackdown against hate posting. Image: Pradeep Thomas Thundiyil/Shutterstock.com
The Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt – BKA) in Germany confirmed officers in 14 federal states across the country carried out the measures today – Wednesday, November 30 – in the eighth national day of action to combat hate posting.
In a statement released in conjunction with the measures, the BKA insisted that though they understand the number of hate posts across the country to be falling, online hate speech is a ‘breeding ground’ for radicalisation and must be stamped out.
Police officers across the country today conducted 91 measures to combat hate posting – now punishable by up to five years imprisonment – including ‘house searches and interrogations’.
The BKA said reports of online hate posts across Germany have decreased by 7.5 per cent between 2020 and 2021, but highlighted the seriousness of hate speech in saying it has the potential to incite people to commit acts of violence against others.
A spokesperson for the BKA explained: “Requests for crimes, threats, coercion or incitement to hatred online are crimes that can be punished with up to five years in prison.
“Although the number of hate posts recorded by the police has decreased (2021: 2,411; 2020: 2,607, -7.5 per cent), this is no reason to sound the all-clear.
“Hate and hate speech online [can be a] breeding ground for radicalization and a source of impetus for acts of violence.”
The BKA added that, because many hate posts go unreported, they believe a ‘large dark field’ of hate speech is operating unchecked.
“Because many criminally relevant posts are not displayed, only reported to the network operators or expressed in closed forums and discussion groups, [they] do not reach the knowledge of the law enforcement authorities,” the statement continued.
“In this respect, a large dark field can be assumed.”
The BKA urged the public to assist them by reporting any hate posts they come across on the internet, and filing complaints to social network providers.
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