Insults, threats, slander: Although, according to a study by the Institute for Democracy and Civil Society, four out of ten German citizens have already experienced digital violence, such incidents rarely end up in court. Because the attempt to enforce one's own rights against large platforms such as Twitter or Facebook has so far been like a fight between David and Goliath.
But only if individuals enjoy the same protection in digital spaces as they do in the analog world, can open societies continue to exist.
That is why the Alfred Landecker Foundation is funding the “Landecker Digital Justice Movement” by HateAid with 3.3 million euros. The initiative aims to support those affected by digital violence to an unprecedented extent and to make digital platforms a safe and democratic place where freedom of expression and diversity of opinion are legally guaranteed.
The "Landecker Digital Justice Movement" is based on three pillars:
- Contribute to legislation at EU level
- Assumption of litigation costs for lawsuits against digital violence in Germany
- Broad information campaigns for the general public and those affected
In the future, HateAid wants EU legislation to focus on the rights of those affected and, in particular, legally oblige platforms to actively participate in a democratic digital space. The first milestone is the Digital Services Act (DSA). For online platforms, the DSA stipulates the obligation to set up complaints and legal remedies. The DSA also suggests working with trustworthy persons who provide information for out-of-court dispute resolutions, measures against abusive reports and the reporting of digital violence.
For the first time, the funding will enable HateAid to finance landmark cases against the large digital platforms, in the hope new court rulings can be used to set precedent and clarify legal issues that have not been considered before, so that digital platforms are forced to act.
HateAid gGmbH has offered those affected by digital violence a platform and contact point since 2018. A team of experts offers advice and expertise via chat, email or in a personal conversation. The organization accompanies affected people in court, bears the legal costs in civil proceedings and thus creates the awareness and the basis for effective protection, the punishment of criminal offenses and the pushes for increased responsibility of the social platforms.