In Germany, Twitter has blocked a tweet by Geert Wilders. The tweet was sent on May 23rd, a day after the Manchester terror attack. Wilders tweeted his (in)famous mantra: “They hate and kill us. (…) Close our borders. Deislamize our nations! Now!”.

When inquired, Twitter replied by stating that they can only delete a tweet if an ‘authority’ requests it and if the content of the tweet is against the law in the country in question. A Twitter spokesman refused to name the authority and stated: “for reasons of privacy and safety we do not speak of our individual accounts.”

The tweet below confirms that (at least some) German IP-addresses were not able to view the tweet in question.

The incident in Germany could very well be connected to a newly proposed German law that is on the verge of being implemented. Germany wants to fine Social Media companies ‘severely’ if they do not remove ‘hate speech’ or ‘fake news’ from their website.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat can receive fines of up to €50 million, and the CEO’s of those companies can receive personal fines of up to €5 million (!). German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) presented the bill last month, stating that: “The providers of social networks are responsible when their platforms are abused to spread hate, criminality and criminal false news.” In his statement, he gave examples of hate speech content like anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial, but it seems the bill (which is not even a law), has already affected islam-critical thoughts.

So, there you have it, the German government will decide which words and thoughts are allowed on the internet, and which ones are not. There is, of course, a wider context to this approach in Germany, where hate speech laws were originally conceived in 1949 in an effort to stop any incitement that would lead to the type of fascism and atrocities borne before and during World War II.