Crime and hate online

Crimes such as insults, defamation, threats, extortion or even sexual coercion (through dick pics, for example) are frequently committed online. Law enforcement authorities or REspect! should be involved as early as possible so that they can combat crimes on the internet or cyber crime effectively. For general crimes, e.g. extortion, my best option is to contact the police directly.

The internet is not a lawless place. Politically motivated threats still constitute crimes even if they are made on social networks. The clause governing incitement of the masses penalises offences such as the distribution of written content – including posts and comments – which incite hate or violence against LGBTIQ+ people or which attack their human dignity, e.g. through insults or defamation. The German Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz) targets issues such as hate and hate speech, and fake news on the internet. It requires operators of social networks to delete or block unlawful content.

If I encounter hate speech on the internet, and in particular on social media, I will go to the REspect! website. I will fill in and submit their reporting form. To do this, I will need to provide a short description of what has happened and either the URL or a screenshot of the content I am reporting. I can remain anonymous and REspect! will take care of gathering evidence.

Click here to go to the REspect! website

If German law has been violated, REspect! request that the network operator delete the content. Authors of criminal hate speech are consistently reported.

I can also report hate and hate speech online myself as follows:

  1. I will take a screenshot with the date and web address of the article or the post and comments. Ideally, I will capture everything that has happened.
  2. I will take a screenshot of the legal notice or profile of the author, together with a web address.
  3. I will file a report or a criminal complaint with the police, the public prosecutor or a court.
  4. I will urge the website operator to delete the offending content.