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Delete Hate Speech or Pay Up, Germany Tells Social Media Companies

By Melissa Eddy and Mark Scott; The New York Times:

BERLIN — Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.

The law reinforces Germany’s position as one of the most aggressive countries in the Western world at forcing companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to crack down on hate speech and other extremist messaging on their digital platforms.

But the new rules have also raised questions about freedom of expression. Digital and human rights groups, as well as the companies themselves, opposed the law on the grounds that it placed limits on individuals’ right to free expression. Critics also said the legislation shifted the burden of responsibility to the providers from the courts, leading to last-minute changes in its wording.

Technology companies and free speech advocates argue that there is a fine line between policy makers’ views on hate speech and what is considered legitimate freedom of expression, and social networks say they do not want to be forced to censor those who use their services. Silicon Valley companies also deny that they are failing to meet countries’ demands to remove suspected hate speech online.

To read rest of article visit The New York Times.

Susan Rice is a Gaffe Machine, but Blames the Hate on Racist and Sexist Republicans

By Morgan Deane; OpsLens:

Susan Rice has a unique gift to make the news every time she speaks. Instead of looking in the mirror and considering her ill-advised statements about the cause of terrorism and a deserter’s supposedly meritorious record, this time she blames the backlash on the intersection of race and gender. In short, she claims she is being attacked because she is a black woman. In reality, she is being attacked because she is a ridiculous partisan hack, whose disconnect from basic facts and ability to repeat the most ridiculous spin and talking points from the Obama administration is as ridiculous as it is stunning.

If we measured political ability by a person’s capacity to say laughable talking points with a straight face, Susan Rice has to be the politician of the century. She first made the news when she commented on the 2012 attacks in Libya that killed the US ambassador and 3 other Americans. Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails (the ones that weren’t illegally deleted of course), revealed that she told multiple people almost immediately that the events in Libya were terrorist attacks. But in public, Susan Rice went on five Sunday talk shows to claim they attacked in response to a video even though it was plainly obvious to anybody watching that there was more to the attack than a video.

The next time she resurfaced she tried to defend Bowe Bergdahl, an army soldier captured by the Taliban. When the Obama administration secured his release Susan Rice again went on morning talk shows. This time she said he served with “honor and distinction.” But this was completely outrageous because most of his comrades said he defected to the enemy and the army court martialed him for desertion. The trade also sparked a significant debate over the wisdom in trading one (subpar) soldier for five terrorists.

Now she has resurfaced again. Her name has entered the conversation in regards to the so-called Russian hacking of the election. Among all of the arguing, Susan Rice admitted to being one of the individuals that unmasked figures in the Trump campaign. Unlike the hysteria over little more than innuendo linking the Trump campaign with Russia, unmasking can be a serious crime. As a result she has been the subject of intense disagreement and scrutiny.

Despite regularly sticking her foot in her mouth and repeating talking points that have tenuous connections to reality, she now blames much of the backlash on racism and sexism. An independent prosecutor will investigate the matter and all related issues. Until then, I’m marveling at the utter ineptness of Susan Rice. She supplies so many howling and guffaw inducing talking points but does it with such sincerity and a straight face that I almost wish she would be in the news every day. To have a partisan hack that is willing to spy on their political enemies and fall on their sword must be important for Obama and Clinton. But she also supplies her own daggers every time she speaks.

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