A German court has ordered Elon Musk’s Twitter to censor “offensive” posts on the platform, even if the person supposedly offended by the content hasn’t reported it.
The court ruled that Twitter had a responsibility to monitor and remove offensive posts before they are even reported.
The ruling was issued in a lawsuit filed by left-wing activist Michael Blume.
Blume is a German government official campaigning against antisemitism in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
His account was targeted with posts accusing him of cheating on his wife with minors, being an antisemite, and supporting pedophiles.
Blume reported 50 tweets, but they remained online for more than a week.
He says the posts were only removed after the account that posted them was suspended.
Non-compliance with the German law carries a fine of up to €5 million.
The court ruled that Twitter had an obligation to delete the tweets and monitor and remove similar posts.
“Twitter is violating German law with its inadequate efforts to combat hatred,” said Chan-jo Jun, Blume’s lawyer.
“But we got something more: the ruling that Twitter has a duty not only to remove the illegal content that is reported, but also to track down fundamentally similar content anywhere on the platform, from any account, and ensure that it ceases.”
“If someone wants a quick injunction against Twitter or Facebook, they would simply need to go to the same court,” Jun added in a statement to the AP.
“There’s a path that’s been beaten here and now it’s of course easier to follow.”
The verdict can be appealed within a month.