WhatsApp to report users to BKA from February 1

WhatsApp as well as social networks such as Facebook and Twitter must pass on data to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) under a new law.

In particular, the new law, which will come into force on February 1, 2022, deals with criminal acts on the Internet. This is a problem that has existed for years and can be observed again and again in comment columns or group chats.

Report hate comments and right-wing extremism to the BKA

The law was already passed by the Bundestag in June 2020. From February 1, 2022, messengers and social networks are obliged to report suspected criminal acts to the BKA. This includes, for example, hate comments, terrorism propaganda, images or videos of child abuse and anti-Semitism. One reason for this is likely to be the realization that written hate on the Internet can and does have consequences in the real world.

Services with more than 2 million users must therefore report the IP addresses and passwords in question to the BKA and delete the content immediately.

Meta and Google protest

Both the group Meta (Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and Google (YouTube) have reported to the Administrative Court in Cologne filed a lawsuit. Thus they have already bought themselves time for the time being. Because until a ruling is reached, the companies now do not have to pass on any data to the BKA or report users.

The reasons given by the Internet giants for this could be manifold. For one, the effort could simply be very great. Consistent deletion and reporting could require resources that would have to be created separately.

On the other hand, Facebook, for example, is known for its reluctance to delete content. Anyone who has ever reported a hate comment on Instagram or Facebook will have noticed this for themselves. Mark Zuckerberg’s company has been criticized for this for years.