I usually leave my fingers on general criminal law. There are colleagues who can do better. Nevertheless, I always find issues related to IT and/or social media very exciting.

Time and again, WhatsApp as a messenger service is part of legal decisions. While last year the OLG Frankfurt had decided that family members may insult themselves with impunity via WhatsApp(see this article) has now been decided by the district court of Würzburg that the offence of incitement of the people under Section 130 of the StGB can also be realized within the framework of a WhatsApp group with 20 participants. Yesterday, for example, a carnival official was fined €7,200 for spreading a xenophobic message to the group. Among other things, he circulated the picture showing a Bundeswehr soldier with a submachine gun in the attack and commented: “The fastest German asylum procedure rejects up to 1,400 applications per minute.”

The oft-heard view that WhatsApp is private after all (at least if it’s not in person-to-person chats) is hardly tenable. So you should think carefully about what you post, when and where. This applies as here in criminal law, but of course also in civil law (see this post on picture postings in a closed Facebook group).

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