German lawmaker's anti-Muslim tweet prompts complaint

"Facebook has also censored me".

Cologne Chief Prosecutor Ulf Willuhn said prosecutors must now decide whether Ms von Storch's message amounted to "inciting people to commit violence against a certain section of society".

The message was deemed inappropriate in the context of a German law passed a year ago that requires social media platforms to remove hate speech within 24 hours.

She posted on Twitter a screen grab of a message she received from Facebook informing her that a post similar to her disputed tweet had been withheld in Germany because it was unlawful.

Germany has stringent hate speech laws.

A senior member of Germany's anti-immigrant party is being investigated for incitement to hatred after tweeting criticism of police for sending a "Happy New Year" message in Arabic.

"Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?" she added.

"The year begins with the censorship law and the submission of our authorities to the imported, marauding, graying, flogging, knife-stabbing migrant mobs, which we should get used to", she posted on her facebook page.

Twitter and Facebook's tough stance came as an anti-online hate speech law went into effect in Germany on January 1. The question was put forth to her on Facebook and while she answered "yes", she later claimed that her computer mouse had slipped. "Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?" von Storch wrote. Even if they are Muslims.

According to Deutsche Welle, the law has been in effect since October, but the German government gave social media firms a three month grace period to adjust to the new systems.

The post was deleted by Twitter after receiving complaints from members of the public. They must delete threats of violence, slander, and other hateful content within 24 hours of the complaint, or within a week if the issue is more legally tricky. Reporters Without Borders said in July that the "Facebook law" would have a negative impact on press freedom. "Even journalistic publications will face a real danger of being affected by this kind over-blocking without due process", said the organisation's executive director for Germany, Christian Mihr, at the time.

  • Rogelio Becker