The SPD member of parliament Robin Mesarosch is taking legal action against the deletion of a post on LinkedIn. The Social Democrat called for a stronger demarcation, especially between the CDU and the AfD, but Linkedin blocked the post. Supported by the Society for Freedom Rights (GFF), Mesarosch has applied to the Hechingen District Court for an injunction, according to which Linkedin is to unlock the controversial posting again. In the blocked post, the former poetry slammer reacts to the statement by CDU chairman Friedrich Merz that cooperation with the AfD at the municipal level is possible.
The right-wing party has no solutions, “it only has hatred,” Mesarosch wrote on July 24. For example, she constantly campaigns against marginalized groups such as foreigners, gays and lesbians, as well as women and those who think differently. Four years ago, it cost the life of CDU government president Walter Lübcke. The AfD disregards democratic principles and wants to abolish them. Therefore, there should be no cooperation with her. LinkedIn blocked the post after a few hours, saying “it doesn’t meet our community guidelines on hate speech.” By then, 69,587 users had seen the post. 50 of them shared it. The post received 1183 reactions and 205 comments in a short time.
Household rights versus fundamental rights
According to Linkedin’s Professional Community Policies, “We allow full conversations about the world of work, but require professional expression of opinion. To maintain a professional platform, members should treat one another with respect and courtesy.” Hate has no place there. Content that attacks individuals or groups because of their race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation or that incites hatred and violence will not be tolerated.
“A post that factually warns against a party and criticizes its hate speech is not hate speech, but a permissible political opinion piece,” counters GFF procedure coordinator Jürgen Bering. It cannot be that platforms arbitrarily delete posts, “while hate speech and false information often circulate unhindered”. Networks like Linkedin shouldn’t be allowed to “do creative legal research with self-imposed community guidelines”.
Rather, they have a fundamental legal obligation. According to the application, criticism of the AfD is recognized as permissible expression of opinion. The Meiningen administrative court classified the designation of the co-chairman of the Thuringian state association, Björn Höcke, as a “fascist” as a permissible public statement. Investigations into the designation as “Nazi” have been discontinued. The contribution published by Mesarosch does not tie in with any of the characteristics of the platform for hate speech.
“(The community guidelines) contain detailed examples that show what kind of content is not allowed on Linkedin,” a company spokesman told heise online. This excludes comparisons “of persons or groups with Nazis or other hateful or extremist groups”.
However, it also states that members are allowed to “denounce the harassing, hateful, or otherwise abusive behavior of others, so long as the focus is on” objectively calling attention to it. The GFF has already sued twice against “arbitrary deletions” by Facebook in the Goliathwatch and Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf cases, with initial success.
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