As of today, the Act Amending the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDGÄndG) comes into force. In its original constitution from October 2017, the Network Enforcement Act to improve law enforcement on social networks (NetzDG) sought to combat hate crime, criminal false news and other punishable content on online platforms.
The following amendments are set to strengthen the rights of users on social networks:
- User-friendly reporting channels: To report illegal or criminal content to a social network provider, reporting channels must be easy for users to find and use. The reporting should be possible directly from the respective content.
- Counter-notification procedures: Social networks will be required to review their decisions to delete or retain content at the request of affected users.
- Clarification of the responsibility of the authorized service agent: For restoration actions that seek to legally enforce the restoration of a deleted post, it has been clarified that documents can also be served on the already prescribed service agents. This is intended to improve protection against unauthorized deletions and account suspensions.
- Impartial arbitration bodies: The amendment regulates the requirements for the recognition of private arbitration bodies, through which disputes on social media can often be resolved more quickly and cost-effectively via out-of-court settlement procedures. In addition, the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive provides for an official arbitration body for video-sharing platforms based in Germany.
- Simpler enforcement of claims for information: Victims of insults or threats on social networks can more easily enforce their claims for information against social networks in court. That is, the court deciding on the admissibility of the release of user data can now also order the release of this data such as usernames.
- More transparency: To make the mandatory transparency reports of social network providers more meaningful, they must include information on how platforms deal with counter-recommendation procedures – e.g., the number of deleted posts that were republished after being reviewed ('put backs') – and the extent to which automated procedures are used to find illegal content.