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It was in summer 2017, only a few months before the federal elections, when the German Department of Justice (DoJ) finally got the upper hand in an internal struggle within the German government over how to deal with “hate speech” and “fake news” online. There had been fears rising within political Berlin that foreign forces, such as Russia, could spread “fake news” via social media to meddle in the upcoming elections. In addition to this, the German right-wing populist party AfD was rapidly gaining momentum, and their supporters were also strongly relying on social media. AfD supporters used social networks to organize themselves, but also to intimidate political opponents. Being bullied and threatened via social networks had become an everyday experience for many politicians.

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