BERLIN (Reuters) – A German court ruled on Tuesday against a new law that obliges social media firms to block or delete criminal content and report particularly serious offences to the police, handing a partial victory to complainants Google and Meta.
Key provisions of the new anti-hate speech law, which allows user data to be passed to the police before it is clear a crime has been committed, violate European Union law, the Administrative Court in Cologne said in a statement.
The 2018 law, which also required social networks to publish regular compliance reports, was widely criticised as ineffective, and parliament passed legislation in May to toughen and broaden its application from February.
Meta, Twitter and Google, which runs the video-sharing site YouTube, had all taken legal action against the expanded version of the rule, describing it as a violation of users’ rights.
The parties involved can appeal against the ruling to the Muenster Higher Administrative Court, the Cologne court said.
(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Zuzanna Szymanska; Editing by Madeline Chambers)