Germany’s Online Crackdowns Inspire the World’s Dictators


anti-hate speech law written in Berlin has been copy-pasted by
authoritarian regimes from Caracas to Moscow.


German government has responded to a recent spate of right-wing
extremist violence with a commitment to enact tough new measures
against online hate speech. These would expand Germany’s existing
efforts along these lines—but seemingly without any consideration
of the pernicious effects they’ve already had around the world. As
our new report shows, Germany’s ongoing crackdown on online speech
has been closely watched, and copied, by authoritarian governments
eager to curb political dissent. The crackdown began after 2015, when
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to welcome more than 1 million
refugees and asylum-seekers was greeted with a tidal wave of protest
ranging from derision to visceral hatred on social media. The anger
migrated from the online trolling and memes of keyboard warriors into
actual attacks on refugee centers across Germany.


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