“Elon Musk’s 2022 acquisition of Twitter has reignited discussions about which content, if any, social media platforms should moderate. Empirical evidence on this question, however, is scarce. This column studies the effect of Germany’s NetzDG, a law that allows the government to levy large fines if social media companies do not promptly remove hateful content. The NetzDG reduced both the hatefulness of online discourse and, more importantly, the incidence of anti-minority hate crimes. Content moderation policies can work – despite their trade-offs – at least when it comes to reducing toxicity on social media and its offline consequences.”


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