Germany’s federal court declares Facebook’s hate speech curbs to be in breach of citizens’ constitutional rights

Well, well, well, the BGH has decided in something that our Twitter account was also dealt, being blocked from German Ministries and the Labor Agency.

We became aware of the BGH decision a week ago. The excellent UK Human Rights Blog was faster in translation. Small wonder, being freed from the shackles of the EU is liberating and invigorating. So we take the liberty and quote their post in full before we inform the concerned ministries and the BA to, perhaps, consider lifting their blockings. Here goes the UK HR Blog and we extend our gratitude.

Germany’s federal court declares Facebook’s hate speech curbs to be in breach of citizens’ constitutional rights

The Federal Court of Justice in Germany (the Bundesgerichtshof, or BGH) has ruled against the social network provider that deleted posts and suspended accounts amid allegations of “hate speech”.

The ruling was handed down on the 29th of July (Bundesgerichtshof, Urteile vom 29. Juli 2021 – III ZR 179/20 und III ZR 192/20) and at the time of writing this post, the full judgment had not been published. The following summary is based upon the Bundesgerichtshof’s press release. NB the quotes from the plaintiff’s Facebook entries are in the judgment, i.e. the public domain, in other words no offence is intended by repeating them here.

Judgments of July 29, 2021 – III ZR 179/20 and III ZR 192/20

The III Civil Senate of the German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that Facebook’s terms and conditions of April 19, 2018 for the deletion of user posts and account blocking in the event of violations of the communication standards set out in the terms and conditions are invalid. This was because the defendant provider had not undertaken to inform the user about the removal of his post at least subsequently and about an intended blocking of his user account in advance, had not informed them of the reason for this and had not given them an opportunity to respond with a subsequent new decision. If, due to the invalid terms and conditions of the provider’s contract, a user’s contribution was deleted and their account temporarily subject to a partial blocking, the user should be able to claim the activation of the deleted contribution and, an undertaking that there would be no further account blocking or deletion of the contribution upon its renewed posting.

Background facts

The parties disputed the legality of a temporary partial blocking of the plaintiffs’ Facebook user accounts and the deletion of their comments by the defendant.

The plaintiffs each maintained a user account for a worldwide social network operated by the defendant’s parent company, whose provider and contractual partner for users based in Germany was the defendant. They claimed against the defendant – to the extent still relevant for the appeal proceedings – in respect of activation of the posts published by them on the network and deleted by the defendant, for an injunction against renewed blocking of their user accounts and deletion of their posts, and – in one of the appeal proceedings – for information about a company commissioned to implement the account blocking.

According to the network’s terms of use in the version applicable since April 19, 2018, the “Community Standards” may not be violated. These prohibit “hate speech” – defined in more detail there.

In the proceedings III ZR 179/20, the plaintiff posted the following contribution:

In contrast to [the assassinations committed by so-called citizens of the Reich] the murders by Islamic immigrants, which one has seen, have no consequences. German people are criminalized because they have a different view of their homeland than the regime. Migrants can murder and rape here and nobody cares! I would like to see a crackdown by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

In case III ZR 192/20, the plaintiff commented on a third party’s post containing a video in which a person with a migrant background refuses to be controlled by a policewoman as follows:

What are these people looking for here in our constitutional state … no respect … no respect for our laws … no respect for women … THEY WILL NEVER INTEGRATE HERE AND WILL BE IN THE POCKET OF THE TAXPAYER FOREVER … THESE GOLDIGGERS CAN ONLY MURDER … STEAL … RANDALIZE … AND VERY IMPORTANTLY … NEVER WORK.

The defendant deleted these statements in August 2018 because they violated the ban on “hate speech”. It temporarily blocked the user accounts so that the plaintiffs could not post anything, comment on anything, or use the Messenger function during this time. In their lawsuits, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant was not entitled to delete their posts and block their user accounts.

Proceedings in the courts

In proceedings III ZR 179/20, the Regional Court dismissed the action. The Court of Appeals dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal against this ruling.

In proceedings III ZR 192/20, the Regional Court ordered the defendant to refrain from charging the plaintiff for posting the text:

What are these people looking for in our constitutional state – no respect – no respect for our laws – no respect for women. They will never integrate here and will be in the taxpayer’s pocket forever.

It also prohibited the defend from reblocking or deleting the post, if the post referred to people who resist a policewoman’s order on the basis that their ideology forbade them from letting women order them about. In all other respects, it dismissed the action. The plaintiff’s appeal was unsuccessful. On appeal by the defendant, the Higher Regional Court amended the judgment of the Regional Court and dismissed the action in its entirety.

The decision of the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof)

The Third Civil Senate of the Federal Court of Justice partially overturned the judgments on appeal and – in proceedings III ZR 192/20, rejecting the appeal in all other respects – ordered the defendant to reinstate the plaintiff’s posts that it had deleted. In addition, in proceedings III ZR 179/20, it ordered the defendant to refrain from blocking the plaintiff from posting her contribution again or from deleting the contribution.

The defendant was not entitled to delete the plaintiff’s posts and block her user accounts on the basis of its terms of use and community standards. It is true that the amended Terms of Use of the Defendant, as amended on April 19, 2018, were effectively incorporated into the contractual relationship of the Parties by the Plaintiffs clicking on the corresponding button labeled “I agree” in response to the Defendant’s notice of the intended amendment, which was sent to them in the form of a pop-up window. However, the reservations granted in the defendant’s amended terms of use regarding the removal of user contributions and the blocking of user accounts were invalid pursuant to Section 307 (1) sentence 1 of the German Civil Code (BGB) because they unreasonably disadvantage the users of the network contrary to the requirements of good faith. [my italics]

When examining whether a clause is unreasonable within the meaning of Section 307 (1) sentence 1 BGB, a comprehensive assessment and weighing of the mutual interests is required. In the present case, the conflicting fundamental rights of the parties – on the part of the users, the freedom of expression under Article 5 (1) sentence 1 of the German Basic Law, and on the part of the defendant, the freedom to exercise a profession under Article 12 (1) sentence 1 of the German Basic Law – must be taken into account and balanced in such a way that they are as effective as possible for all parties. This balancing of interests shows that the defendant is in principle entitled to require the users of its network to comply with certain communication standards that go beyond the requirements of criminal law (e.g. insult, defamation or incitement of the people). It may reserve the right to remove posts and block the user account in question in the event of a breach of the communication standards.

However, in order to strike a balance between the conflicting fundamental rights in a manner that is in line with the interests of the parties, and thus to maintain reasonableness within the meaning of Section 307 (1) sentence 1 of the German Civil Code, the defendant must undertake in its terms and conditions to inform the user concerned at least retrospectively about the removal of a post and in advance about an intended blocking of his user account, to inform him of the reason for this and to give him an opportunity to respond, followed by a new decision.

The removal and blocking reservations in the defendant’s terms and conditions did not meet these requirements. The defendant was therefore not entitled to delete the plaintiffs’ posts and block their user accounts. It was ordered restore the posts and refrain from blocking the user accounts and deleting the posts when they are posted again.


Facebook’s initial reaction was to welcome the BGH’s finding that the network was in principle entitled to remove content according to its own guidelines and to block the user accounts in question. The Telegraph online quotes a spokesperson for Facebook: “We do not tolerate hate speech and are committed to removing inadmissible content from Facebook”. He added that the BGH decision would be “carefully examined to ensure that we can continue to take effective action against hate speech in Germany.” The lawyer representing Facebook had called the court’s requirement for a prior hearing “completely impractical.” Every day, he said, there are hundreds of cases, and each new insult encourages like-minded people.

It will be interesting to see how in practice Facebook responds to this ruling, as its moderation system relies heavily on AI thus removing users’ comments without reason.

. . . . . . . . .

Here is a thread on Twitter about the decision.

So what are you at the BMAS, the BMFSFJ and the BA thinking about this? You guys feel addressed? You feel unconcerned? Stay silent? As it says in the Twitter thread:

1. Facebook has to inform users (at least) AFTER blocking/delete a piece of content, and BEFORE they intend to deplatform someone. Why? Because of a weighing of the different rights involved.

2. A terms of service clause that does not respect the rights of both parties is unreasonable. When examining whether a clause is unreasonable within the meaning of Section 307 (1) sentence 1 BGB, a comprehensive assessment and weighing of the mutual interests is required.

3. In the present case, the conflicting fundamental rights of the parties – on the part of the users, the freedom of expression under Article 5 (1) sentence 1 of the German Basic Law, and on the part of the defendant, above all, the freedom to exercise a profession under Article 12

Ball’s in your court.

Dad, what is “hate speech”?

Franziska Giffey wants to speak with the manager of Twitter

Franziska Giffey: “Hello Twitter? I’m Karen. I’d like to speak with the manager. About misogynistic tweets.”

(You never know with the Germans. They might get the Twitter account suspended.)

The Cancellation of Trump

This is the most rational post so far about Trump’s suspension from Twitter and Facebook. What will it ultimately mean?

The worry is that the precedent set by Twitter will (unless overturned by the courts) result in a censorship regime in which a tiny minority of users are disadvantaged, essentially to show that the market can successfully discipline democracy.

David Timoney finds Trump’s supension odd. Indeed it is.

The suspension of Donald Trump from Twitter has been welcomed by many who believe that social media promotes echo chambers and disinformation. This strikes me as odd because Trump was clearly followed by people of all political persuasions, including opponents who derisively retweeted him. Short of blocking his account and muting the very mention of his name, it wasn’t possible to preserve your “filter bubble” from his yawping. He sought to expand his reach rather than limit it to the select few, and I can’t help wondering if he sometimes exaggerated the madness to this end. Contrary to his characterisation as a political exception, his strategy was a conventional one of both reinforcing his base and trying to attract additional supporters. He may be a racist but he was happy to welcome black and latinx voters to his camp. Similarly, his attempts at disinformation prompted broad and detailed pushback, not to mention ridicule. The actual echo chambers within which conspiracy theories are shared and plots hatched are to be found on private platforms, like WhatsApp and Telegram, not essentially public platforms like Twitter and Facebook. So why is there now a political focus on the latter?

Read the full post here.

On a lighter note, here is what we are missing. Some of his very best tweets.

Strafanzeige gegen Bundesjustizministerin Christine Lambrecht wegen Verleumdung von US Präsident Trump


Turmstraße 91
10559 Berlin

‘Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!
Mistrust all those who talk much about their justice!’

10. Jan. 2021

Ich erstatte Strafanzeige gegen

Bundesministerin Christine Lambrecht,
Behördenleiterin des Bundesministerium der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz

wegen Verleumdung (§ 187 StGB) des amerikanischen Präsidenten Donald J. Trump und Verstoss gegen Art 5 GG.

Am 07. Januar 2021 twitterte die Behördenleiterin des BMJV, Christine Lambrecht, unmittelbar nach den Ereignissen im Capitol von Washington vom 06. Januar ihren Kommentar zur Blockierung des amtierenden (!) Präsidenten der USA, Donald J. Trump, auf Facebook und Twitter. Sie versieht diesen Tweet auch noch mit dem Hashtag “Demokratie”! Der Tweet lautet:

“Twitter und Facebook haben die Accounts des amtierenden US-Präsidenten Trump gesperrt. #Capitol #Demokratie
Dass Twitter und Facebook Trumps Flut der Lügen jetzt unterbrechen, ist eine viel zu späte Einsicht. Wut, Hass und Aggression waren viel zu lange ein Teil des Geschäftsmodells, mit dem die Plattformen reich geworden sind. Wir werden in Europa verbindliche Pflichten für die Internetplattformen schaffen, um Wahlen zu schützen, Hetze zu löschen und gegen Lügen konsequent vorzugehen.
Christine Lambrecht, Bundesministerin der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz”

Diese sozialistische Ministerin unterstellt dem amtierenden amerikanischen Präsidenten Donald J. Trump DIREKT NACH den Vorfällen im Capitol zu Washington vom 06. Jan. 2021, er hätte Hetze und Aggression geschürt in seiner Rede vom gleichen Tag. Implizit beschuldigt sie ihn damit zur Aufstachelung und macht ihn verantwortlich für die Vorfälle im Capitol. Es steht ausser Zweifel, sie hat es nicht für nötig befunden, Trumps Rede überhaupt zu lesen.

Damit begeht diese durchtriebene Bundesministerin genau das, was sie Trump vorwirft: sie lügt schäbig und genau, wie man es von einem Politiker erwartet. Hier ist die Rede von Präsident Trump nachzulesen.

Gut, dass man nicht angewiesen ist auf die deutsche Shitpaper Presse und seine schwanzlutschenden (1) Journalisten, sondern dass es integre Blogger gibt wie Ann Althouse, Rechtsprofessor an der University of Wisconsin Law School, jetzt emeritierter Professor. Im Blog Post “The 7 most violence-inciting statements in Donald Trump’s speech to the crowd on January 6th.” befasst sie sich mit Trumps Rede. Hier ist ihr Post übersetzt:

Hier ist das Transkript. Ich las die gesamte Rede – die über eine Stunde dauerte – und suchte nach den Sätzen, die am meisten der Interpretation unterliegen, dass er die Menge dazu aufrief, in das Kapitol einzubrechen oder irgendeine Art von Gewalttat zu begehen. Ich mache das, weil mir klar wurde, dass ich keine Zitate von Trump gesehen habe, sondern nur die Behauptung, dass die Rede eine Anstiftung und eine Ursache-Wirkungs-Schlussfolgerung war, die auf der Abfolge der Ereignisse beruhte: Er sprach und dann handelten sie.
Es gibt Stellen, an denen er eindeutig von einem friedlichen Protestmarsch sprach. Er sagt: “Ich weiß, dass alle hier bald zum Kapitol marschieren werden, um friedlich und patriotisch Ihre Stimmen zu Gehör zu bringen.” Und: “Also werden wir die Pennsylvania Avenue entlang gehen … Also gehen wir die Pennsylvania Avenue entlang.”
Aber hier sind die 7 gewalttätigsten Aussagen. Wenn Sie etwas Gewalttätigeres oder mehr im Zusammenhang mit der Idee finden, in das Kapitol einzubrechen und das Verfahren physisch zu stören, lassen Sie es mich wissen und ich werde es der Liste hinzufügen. Folgendes habe ich gefunden und in die Reihenfolge von am wenigsten bis am gewalttätigsten gebracht:

7. Wir gehen zum Kapitol hinunter und werden unsere tapferen Senatoren und Kongressabgeordneten anfeuern. Wir werden einigen von ihnen wahrscheinlich nicht so viel zujubeln, weil Sie unser Land niemals mit Schwäche zurückerobern werden. Man muss Stärke zeigen und man muss stark sein.

6. Um einen Lieblingsbegriff zu verwenden, den Sie alle wirklich erfunden haben, werden wir den Diebstahl stoppen…. Wir werden nicht zulassen, dass sie Ihre Stimmen zum Schweigen bringen.

5. Die Republikaner müssen härter werden. Sie werden keine republikanische Partei haben, wenn Sie nicht härter werden.

4. Wir werden jemanden dort haben, der nicht dort sein sollte, und unser Land wird zerstört, und wir werden nicht dafür eintreten.

3. Wir werden niemals aufgeben. Wir werden niemals zugeben, es passiert nicht. Sie geben nicht zu, wenn es um Diebstahl geht.

2. Wir werden es nicht zulassen. Ich werde es nicht zulassen.

1. Gemeinsam sind wir entschlossen, die Regierung des Volkes, des Volkes und des Volkes zu verteidigen und zu bewahren.” (Ende)

Diese Ministerin unterstellt dem amtierenden Präsidenten – gewählt von 75 Millionen Menschen – des Landes, das Deutschland von den Nazis befreit hat und die mittels Sozialisten an die Macht kamen, Äusserungen, die er belegbar nicht getätigt hat und befürwortet seine Knebelung. Die Aussicht, die sie für Europa macht, lässt nur erschauern. Diese Ministerin sollte ihres Amtes enthoben werden. Doch Eingriff in die freie Meinungsäusserung liegt im DNA dieser Deutschen.

Cadit quaestio

(1) Ich bedauere den Terminus, aber mir fällt bei deutschen Journalisten nichts anderes mehr ein. Einen Günter Gaus gibt es leider nicht mehr.

Criminal complaint against Head of German Federal Ministry of Justice for defamation of the US President Trump

Public Prosecutor’s Office
Turmstrasse 91
10559 Berlin

‘Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!
Mistrust all those who talk much about their justice!’


Jan. 10, 2021

I’m filing a criminal complaint against the

Federal Minister Christine Lambrecht,
Head of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

for defamation (§ 187 StGB) of the American President Donald J. Trump and violation of Art 5 Basic Law.

On January 7th, 2021, the head of the BMJV, Christine Lambrecht, tweeted her comment on the blocking of the incumbent (!) President of the USA, Donald J. Trump, on Facebook and Twitter. She even uses the hashtag “Democracy”! The tweet reads:

“Twitter and Facebook have blocked the accounts of the incumbent US President Trump. #Capitol #Democracy

That Twitter and Facebook now interrupt Trump’s flood of lies is far too late a conclusion. Anger, hatred and aggression have been part of the business model that made the platforms rich for far too long.
We will create binding obligations for Internet platforms in Europe in order to protect elections, erase hate speech and consistently take action against lies.

Christine Lambrecht, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection”

This socialist minister accuses the incumbent American President Donald J. Trump DIRECTLY AFTER the incidents in the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, that he had stirred up hatred and aggression in his speech on the same day. She implicitly accuses him of incitement and makes him responsible for the incidents in the Capitol. There is no doubt she did not even bother to read Trump’s speech.

This sly Federal Minister is doing exactly what she accuses Trump of: she lies shabbily and exactly as one would expect from a politician. Read President Trump’s speech here.

It’s good that you don’t have to rely on the German shitpaper press and its cock-sucking (1) journalists, but that there are bloggers with integrity like Ann Althouse, law professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, now professor emeritus. In the blog post “The 7 most violence-inciting statements in Donald Trump’s speech to the crowd on January 6th.” she covers Trump’s speech. Here is her post translated:

Here‘s the transcript. I read the entire speech — which was over an hour — looking for the sentences that are most subject to the interpretation that he was inciting the crowd to break into the Capitol building or commit any sort of act of violence. I’m doing this because I realized I wasn’t seeing quotes from Trump, just assertions that the speech was an incitement and cause-and-effect inferences based on the sequence of events: He spoke and then they acted.
There are places where he clearly talked about a peaceful protest march. He says: “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” And: “So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”
But here are the 7 most violent statements. Please, if you can find anything more violent or more related to the idea of breaking into the Capitol and physically disrupting the proceedings, let me know, and I’ll add it to the list. This is what I’ve found and have put in order from least to most violent:

7. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.

6. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal…. We will not let them silence your voices.

5. The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican party if you don’t get tougher.

4. [W]e’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there and our country will be destroyed, and we’re not going to stand for that.

3. We will never give up. We will never concede, it doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.

2. We’re not going to let it happen. Not going to let it happen.

1. Together we are determined to defend and preserve government of the people, by the people and for the people.” (End)

This minister insinuates that the incumbent president – elected by 75 million people – of the country that liberated Germany from the Nazis and that came to power via the indirect assistence of socialists, made public statements that he clearly has not made and supports his gagging. The prospect she opens up for Europe can only make one shiver. This minister should be removed from office. But encroachment on freedom of expression is in the DNA of these Germans.

Cadit quaestio

(1) I regret the term, but I can’t think of any better way to describe German journalists. Unfortunately, there is no longer a Günter Gaus.