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What you can do against hate postings on the net

Even if it sometimes seems that way, the Internet is not a lawless space. To keep it that way, law enforcement also depends on people who don’t look the other way when it comes to threats and hate speech.

Social media have fundamentally changed the way we communicate in recent years. Under the guise of distance and sometimes even anonymity, extreme statements are sometimes made. It should be clear to everyone: Hate and incitement on the Internet are anything but a trivial offense. Racist insults, incitement of the people or defamation are also punishable on the Internet. Anyone who discovers such attacks or is subjected to them themselves should report such postings or comments immediately.

Recognizing hate postings as such

Not every comment is immediately recognizable as a hate posting. Also, not every offensive comment can be prosecuted to the same extent. In Germany, for example, the German Criminal Code prohibits a number of symbols on the Internet, as well as a public call for criminal acts or incitement to hatred, i.e. when violence is specifically called for against individual groups.

Moreover, trivialized or excessive depictions of violence are also not permitted. The same applies to insults, defamation, slander, threats and coercion, as well as a whole range of other acts that are also punishable in the analog environment.

But how do you recognize such hate postings? It’s actually not that easy, because the posts are not always emotional, and sometimes they may even be disguised as a joke. Often, however, such posts contain a disparagement of a particular group or person. If you have a bad feeling about a post, then you should look closely. How are certain keywords used and in what context? Is something or someone being disparaged or objectified? Postings that call for specific acts and/or legitimize existing violence are particularly critical.

React directly

Anyone who sees a hate comment should react as quickly as possible. On the one hand, you can enter into discussion with the person. Many behave passively in the case of hate postings; it can already make a significant difference to point out that the statement of a post is not okay and should be questioned.

On the other hand, those who do not want to get involved in the discussion themselves can also help by documenting and reporting hate speech. Incidentally, many official bodies such as the BKA also advise this. There are specialized agencies for reporting hate postings. This is possible, for example, at the Respect reporting office, which is supported by the Baden-W├╝rttemberg Youth Foundation but operates nationwide, and to which the Federal Criminal Police Office also refers.

First delete, then report hate postings

Internet users can describe the case directly on the homepage. The address of the website in question and the user’s own e-mail address must also be provided. Screenshots documenting the hate speech can also be uploaded. The Respect team checks the report and, in the event of a legal violation, requests the deletion of the contribution from the respective operator of the site or network. According to the information, the author will also be reported, especially in cases of incitement of the people.

One can also report hate postings to the corresponding network by which the post was posted. There are usually direct mechanisms for this, such as a report button or a contact point. The operators are also increasingly cooperating with the relevant authorities in this regard, such as WhatsApp .

Link to the public prosecutor’s office

The Lower Saxony Central Office for Combating Hate Crime on the Internet has also taken up the fight against hate crime on a nationwide basis. This site, which is run by the public prosecutor’s office in G├Âttingen, also offers a simple online form for reporting postings or comments that contain hate and incitement.

Important: Aggrieved parties who also provide their contact details here enable prosecutors to obtain a criminal complaint from them if necessary. Otherwise, the prosecution authorities cannot take action in the case of so-called application offenses – which include insult, defamation or slander.


  • dpa
  • No Hate Speech


  • #aldi
  • Internet
  • social media