FSM hotline: Significantly more justified complaints about pornography
Hardly any relaxation on the Internet hotline of the voluntary self-regulation of multimedia service providers (FSM): In 2022, a total of 12,956 complaints about illegal or harmful online content were received there. Although this corresponds to a slight decrease compared to 14,205 reports in 2021, it is still the second highest volume in the history of the complaints office. The examiners classified 68 percent of the cases or 8757 submissions as legitimate – the corresponding content actually violated German youth media protection laws.
In the area of pornography, the proportion of justified complaints has increased by 13 percent to 4455 cases for 2022 compared to the previous year, according to the hotline statistics that have now been published. Such content with a sexual reference made up a total of 51 percent of the legitimate entries. The second largest group, at 37 percent, was reports of depictions of child sexual abuse (3224 cases). After the strong increase in this area in 2021 with 5311 justified complaints, the volume was so declining. Nevertheless, the lawyers behind the hot line had to process almost three times as many references to such depictions of abuse in 2022 as in 2020. 445 times users reported recordings of extreme violence. This includes violent and animal pornography (364 cases), violations of human dignity (76 submissions) and the glorification of violence.
Developmentally Impairing Content
In the current reporting year, the number of reported cases of other content classified as harmful to young people has more than doubled to 486. This jump is due in particular to the increased reporting of indexed pieces of music. In addition, the examiners considered 106 submissions to be detrimental to development. Such content is generally unsuitable for children and young people, but is not considered generally inadmissible. Here it is sufficient if providers limit the transmission time or technically label a website in such a way that the requirements for the use of a recognized youth protection program are met.
“Hate crime” was reported by users in 95 cases, compared to 151 in the previous year. It was mainly about representations of signs of unconstitutional organizations with a share of 72 percent. The FSM forwards depictions of abuse by minors that are stored on German servers to the Federal Criminal Police Office and informs the host provider in the so-called “Notice and Takedown” procedure. In 2022, it took an average of 1.5 days after the complaint was received by the FSM before it was removed. Overall, the deletion rate of this content is 100 percent. The complaints office also informs the host provider and the responsible partner hotline in the Inhope network of abuse recordings hosted abroad. After four weeks, 77 percent of this content could be removed. The number of complaints to the eco hotline, which published its current balance sheet last week, is higher.