October 1. The Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, NetzDG) — also known as the Facebook law — entered into force. The measure requires social media platforms with more than two million users to remove “blatantly illegal” hate speech within 24 hours, and less obviously illegal content within seven days, or face fines of up to €50 million ($58 million). Critics argue that the definition of hate speech is ambiguous and subjective and that the new law is a threat to online free speech. The German government plans to apply the law more widely — including to content on social media networks of any size, according to Der Spiegel.
October 2. Germany’s partial ban on face coverings “must be expanded” to include a full ban on the burqa in public, said Andreas Scheuer, the secretary general of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). “A ban is possible and necessary,” he said a day after a burqa ban went into effect in neighboring Austria. “We will not give up our identity, we are ready to fight for it, the burqa does not belong to Germany,” he said. The deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Stephan Harbarth, said that the partial ban “goes to the limit” of what is constitutionally possible: “I fear that a more far-reaching ban would not be compatible with the Basic Law.”
October 3. Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), said that political Islam has no place in Germany. “Islam does not belong to Germany,” she told the BBC. “We are in favor of religious freedom of course, but Islam is claiming political power, and this is what we oppose.”