The Effect of Content Moderation on Online and Offline Hate: Evidence from Germany's NetzDG

36 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2022

See all articles by Rafael Jiménez Durán

Rafael Jiménez Durán

Social Science Research Council; University of Chicago

Karsten Müller

National University of Singapore

Carlo Schwarz

Bocconi University - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 26, 2022

Abstract

Social media companies are under scrutiny for the prevalence of hateful content on their platforms, but there is scarce empirical evidence of the consequences of regulating such content. We study this question in the context of the ``Network Enforcement Act'' (NetzDG) in Germany, which mandates major social media companies to remove hateful posts within 24 hours. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that the law was associated with a statistically significant reduction in toxic posts by far-right social media users. Further, we show that the NetzDG reduced anti-refugee hate crimes in towns with more far-right Facebook users. Together, these findings suggest that online content moderation can curb online hate speech and offline violence.

Keywords: NetzDG, Hate Crime, Refugees, Germany

JEL Classification: L82, J15, O38

Suggested Citation

Jiménez Durán, Rafael and Müller, Karsten and Schwarz, Carlo, The Effect of Content Moderation on Online and Offline Hate: Evidence from Germany's NetzDG (September 26, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4230296 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4230296

Rafael Jiménez Durán

Social Science Research Council ( email )

810 Seventh Ave
31st Floor
New York, NY New York 10019
United States

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Karsten Müller

National University of Singapore

15 Kent Ridge Dr
Singapore
Singapore

Carlo Schwarz (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

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