back to article Twitter censors bow to police, suppress Nazi tweets

Twitter has blocked access to a banned Neo-Nazi group in Germany after a request from the local police. Hannover police asked for the ban after disbanding the far-right group and seizing its assets during an criminal investigation into it. "All its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately," the police wrote …


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  1. g e

    But, to be fair...

    If it's a German account then Nazi-ness is still illegal in the Fatherland, no?

    Hence they're breaking German law. They should pretend to be Republicans in America or Papua New Guinea or somewhere else that isn't Germany.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: But, to be fair...

      "First they came for the national socialists... " subhead is spot on. Either all speech is free and protected or else, who decides what is offensive and what is not? Yes, it was Germany and they have anti-Nazi laws, and yes, given Germany's history it is understandable that these laws exist. Nevertheless, I think these laws are wrong. Having these laws has not stopped the rise of anti-semitism, and of far-right ideologies in general. In Austria which has similair laws, the far-right is now one of the major parties.

      If bad ideas can be aired, they can be discussed and countered. If they are just vetoed, they will continue to develop and spread underground, making easy targets of the "what do they have to hide" and the "everyone else is against us" set.

      1. Stevie

        Re: But, to be fair...

        "If bad ideas can be aired, they can be discussed and countered."

        Because previous experience shows us how well that works, Mr Chamberlain.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: But, to be fair...

        There aren't anti-fascist laws, just specifically ones against Nazis

        These are sometimes a bit ridiculous - there was a history exhibit at Berlin train station where any photos taken 1933-1945 had little black circles stuck over a certain symbol. IIRC you also aren't allowed to buy/sell stamps from the period

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        @James Micallef

        I'm inclined to agree with you on free speech, but I don't think Twitter should be responsible for changing German law, nor do I think their German operation should be allowed to break it just because they are a US company.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: @James Micallef

          @Ken Hagan - I agree completely. I don't think the law is useful, but it's still the law and Twitter has to comply with it if it wants to operate in Germany, and of course if they don't like it they are free to lobby for the law to be changed

      4. Notas Badoff

        Oh my, how id(unr)ealistic you are

        @James Micallef: "If bad ideas can be aired, they can be discussed and countered."

        Bad ideas can and are aired, then consumed, agreed with, and held valid by quite a number of people. These same people will not discuss, and will not accept counter arguments. There is no back-and-forth exchange of ideas with I say the majority of people.

        Your second "can be" assumes that good ideas have 'reach'. How do you reach closed minds?

        To a great degree, the mere witnessing of someone saying these vile things will give credence to those, comforting and strengthening the many others already quietly holding firm but uncivilized truths.

        Please take your ideals and apply yourself to converting the next two hindrances to civilization you meet to a better ideal. That will so consume you, you won't have time left to congratulate yourself with your misconceived perceptions. Truly engage with them, don't let them fob you off with sure-sure yeah-yeah you're right. It is your faulty understanding of your fellow citizens that has led you into this rosy view.

        Civilization is a veneer - see Rwanda or Bosnia (or your own neighborhood) for examples.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: Oh my, how id(unr)ealistic you are

          @Notas Badoff - unfortunately you are right and people with rigid views will mostly keep those views. The thing is, they will keep those views whether it's illegal or not. I am not that naive to believe that bad beliefs will die out just because they're made illegal. Regarding "How do you reach closed minds" - you don't. I heard once with respectto science that old ideas only die out when the people holding the ideas die, and the new generation have different ideas. That's the way to effect change, gradually - educate the younger generations and time will take care of the older ones.

          When you say "To a great degree, the mere witnessing of someone saying these vile things will give credence ...." that is correct, however having an outright ban on some ideas is also giving credence to their veracity. No amount of laws will make people change ther fixed ideas, so if the law is not useful, might as well not have it at all?

          "Please take your ideals and apply yourself ......" etc. Actually, I do my best not to preach my ideals except to people who show interest, and I have no wish to argue with stone walls, and I only engage with engaging people. So nothing is consuming me, and I find I live a lot happier this way :)

      5. Reg Blank

        @ James Micallef

        Although I have great sympathy with your position (and other's here and the Reg's self-righteous sub-editors), what with coming from and living in a country with a liberal democratic tradition of free speech and all that freedom stuff...

        ...I have been fortunate that this country hasn't had a history of certain kinds of "free speech" being used to justify, legitimise and enact a government program of harassment, detention, enslavement and mass murder of a cultural/racial group that resulted in the systematic and industrialised murder of MILLIONS of human beings.

        Those free speech crimes didn't just abuse and traumatise the victims, but also the people and society of the perpetrators.

        The laws in Germany may seem like nonsense, but it is one of the ways a traumatised German society chose to deal with the kinds of crimes that no country should have to deal with, and were enacted at a time when the perpetrators weren't in pages on Wikipedia or featured in an exploitative TV documentary, or some warlord in some forgotten country on some ignored continent. It was a time when the people who committed these unspeakable acts were living next door you, and worked alongside you, and were members of your family. And even more people around you were, just a few short years before, enthusiastic supporters of such "free speech" which abused and degraded, and enthusiastically supporters of policies which abused and degraded, and enthusiastically supporters of actions which abused and degraded and murdered and destroyed.

        So I'm prepared to show a little more leniency towards Germany and their laws against certain kinds (not all!) of speech, a leniency that I would not show towards my own country or many others.

        Seeing as there is a discussion of China, I don't like China's policy of censorship either, but I am willing to give a tiny bit of slack (not a lot, and not as much as Germany) because they too have a long and bloody history of internal violence, civil wars and rebellions which has resulted in MANY tens of millions of dead.

        Now, how about we all get off our high horses and look at the facts. Germany has laws against Nazi symbology and speech. Don't like it? Ask your politician to change the laws. Not German? Not your business, and comply with local laws or leave.

        1. James Micallef Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          @ Reg Blank

          You're right, that's why in my original post I said " given Germany's history it is understandable that these laws exist."

      6. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: But, to be fair...

        Who decides what is offensive or not? The parliament, elected by and representing the Nation.

        Any country limits speech: you cannot call to murder someone for instance, it's illegal even in the US - google for "Student Convicted of Threatening to Kill President Bush, Faces Up to 35 Years in Prison" for instance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But, to be fair...

          And yet millions of Right Wing Republicans literally call for the murder of President Obama and no one does anything about that!

          That's because many of the constituents of the Republican party are comprised of the Police and Military.

          Double standards from the so called justice system, seems like they got that idea from somewhere in the late 1930's!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: literally call for the murder of President Obama

            Actually the most highest number of recent death threats are from those "loving" leftists:


            1. Dan Paul

              Re: literally call for the murder of President Obama

              <Sarcasm> That's quite simple, it's not against federal law to threaten ex governors of Massachussetts, only Presidents.<Sarcasm>

              However, your and others comments on the link you supplied only goes to prove my point that ALL Romney supporters are nothing more than thinly veiled racists, who still can't live with the fact that an educated "uppity" black man beat a white POW in the last election. Then they had to try to elect another nouveau riche frat boy bully since the last Bush was such a good president then Romney should be better.

              How about putting forth some truly viable Republican candidates? You can't because the smart ones know better.

              Maybe you should understand the real reason that Obama got elected is due to the fact that there alot more intelligent people out here that dorks like you cannot control. White ones too!

              Below are examples of the racist posts from Breitbart that "Anonymous Coward" was likely posting:

              "Wayne Frohm 32 comments collapsed Collapse Expand They just can't stand the fact that ol homeboy Obama might actually get his butt whipped by Romney and America willl have another craker in da house.

              I mean, dem food stamps, they be really inpotent and heaven fobid, they may have to wake up in da morning to go to wok. If Romney elected, his plans may really wok and theyd be haveing to actually get a job an giv up dat free Obama phone. Watta shame!!!"

              Next one:

              Orangeone 11 comments collapsed Collapse Expand Business owners are WAY too smart to hire any of these Obamabots! Time for them to head to Mexico, or Kenya.....

              Or the next one:

              Wayne Frohm 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand Your right. I am a business owner and I can spot a libatard and a social scumsuker a mile away.

              My final thoughts:

              You and your right wing Nazi friends are the primary reason why there is such a problem in the USA. Your despicable attitude and political brinksmanship is going to cause financial ruin in this country.

              May you all rot in hell.

    2. Mr. Great Sage

      Re: But, to be fair...

      I think, to be fair, that the application of "Far Right" for Germany is different then the application of "Far Right" for the United States (since you state Republicans). Specifically being Right usually means a return to a previous way of how government was run. From a German perspective Nazi's would be "Right", however the "Right" in the US would simply mean moving closer to how the United States Government was run in earlier in it's history. Be it in the form of taxes, or the size of Government in general.

      From an American point of view, Nazi's are considered left.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        say this three times while closing your eyes and spinning around

        @Grate Sage .. This is a Sokal hoax isn't it.

        1. Mr. Great Sage
          Thumb Down

          Re: say this three times while closing your eyes and spinning around


      2. Dan Paul

        Re: But, to be fair... NO, TO BE FAIR, THE NAZI'S ARE CONSIDERED FAR RIGHT!!!

        As an American, hoping to explain our politics to the uninitiated; our Nazi's are just a little right of the Tea Party and a subset of the Republican party. Being "Right" has NOTHING to do with "previous government".

        Depending on your political affiliation, the "Left" is comprised of either Communists or Democrats, all part of those scary "Socialists".

        Realistically the so called "Leftists" or Democrats are FAR more "Moderate" now than any "Right wing Tea Party Republican".

        1. James Micallef Silver badge

          Re: But, to be fair... NO, TO BE FAIR, THE NAZI'S ARE CONSIDERED FAR RIGHT!!!

          "Left" and "Right" can be a bit misleading, there is a mix of social and economic issues here. On the social scale, "left" is more progressive, allow people to do their own thing, "right" is more conservative and conformist to common dogma / central authority. On economic scale, "left" is socialist / communist and "right" is free market / capitalist. So Communist USSR was far left on economic issues but pretty far right on social ones. Libertarians (US liberals or UK Lib-Dem) are pretty left on social issues and right on economic issues. Republicans are very far right on both and Democrats are fairly left on both.

          Na-zi = National Socialist = Far right in social policy and left-ish in economic policy (ironically, for all the rhetoric, there is not much difference between fascist and communist ideologies), but there is nothing in itself bad in having this combination of policy ideas. The real nastiness in Nazism (and communism) came from rejection of the very bases of democracy ie all people are equal, freedom of speech and association, rule of law etc

          1. Tom 13

            Re: But, to be fair... NO, TO BE FAIR, THE NAZI'S ARE CONSIDERED FAR RIGHT!!!

            That's a socialist talking point not a real one. The Nazi's were only ever to the right of the International Communists. With the release of the Verona files, we now know the US government was pretty well infiltrated at the time they crucified McCarthy for trying to remove them from government. That their propaganda has persisted for as long as it has does not make it objectively correct.

  2. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Turkey getting in before China.

    I expect the first appeasement will be of Turkey, with Fazil Say's Twitter account locked up just as soon as Mr Say is ( Of course, since insulting Islam, Ataturk, anything remotely to do with the Islamist government in Turkey, etc., etc., will also get the Reg banned from there too, maybe that's why Mr Say's case is not on the Reg?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Odious though Nazis are, I do feel a little disturbed that Twitter have had to roll over and suppress the free expression of people in a European country. Good for them in making sure the request is publicised via Chilling Effects.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. NomNomNom

    I am not sure about changing the laws of tweeting it will just encourage large numbers of Neo-Nazis to cross over the border into Poland where they can tweet legally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...or just use a proxy to appear to pop up in any convenient country with laxer laws.

  6. David Glasgow

    No Platform For Racists

    Was scrawled on a bog wall in Leicester, in 1984.

    Underneath wags had added:

    "No platform for trains"

    "No platform for Oil Rigs"

    and, most of its time,

    "No platform for shoes"

    The whole thing descended into chaos at the 1986 NUS conference where one group screeched “no platform for Zionists"; and there was a ban on a badge rather unwittily equating Zionism to fascism.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Adolf said, "God is with us."

    As does the CIA and all the yanquie military etc..

    The queen is saved by god, we are told to sing.

    She only got that job because her inlaws killed more of the other side than they did of hers, and our current and ancienter inlaws died to keep her and the euro-banks in business.

    Meanwhile the yanquies from Corporation USA, run rampant over the globe, controlling the drug trafficking, weapons sales and murdering millions.

    They tell us their imaginary deity is with them too.

  8. Potemkine Silver badge

    "First they came for the national socialists"

    So sad 'they' didn't do the same in 1933, it could have avoid us a world war, 60 million dead and a continent in shatters.

    Let's learn that from History: appeasement does not work with Nazis.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "First they came for the national socialists"

      No - instead they censored the communists and banned any communist newspapers, just to make sure thsat those extremists didn't get into power

  9. Knochen Brittle
    Thumb Down

    Guilty until proven Innocent

    regardless of whether the law in question is good or bad (<--this one), the rotten nub of this story is that the punishment is being applied before any conviction.

    i.e. the collaborating service providers lend themselves to become the police' private preemptive lynch-mob to harass and herd those naughty "nazis" (or any suspected thought-criminal) back into the NATO-standard political corral of the cartel parties.

    Senile Uncle Sam sends his greeting (a fart brooded since 1945) to all EU White Niggers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even handed

    Personally I believe in fairness. Ban Twitter completely, everywhere; it's the only way to be fair.

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