eco Complaints Office Annual Report 2018: “Principle of Take-down Instead of Blocking Works”

  • Annual review documents success: 96% of reported URLs removed worldwide
  • Combatting unlawful content must be the task of society as a whole


The eco Complaints Office published its third independent Annual Report on 3 April 2019 in the European Parliament. The Annual Report successfully demonstrates that the principle of “take-down instead of blocking” works, even in the face of a formidable number of complaints: In 2018, there were a total of 8,671 such cases (disregarding reports of spam and Usenet content). Of these, 3,097 cases were ultimately justified, and almost three-quarters concerned depictions of abuse of children and adolescents.

“As the operator of the eco Complaints Office, we take on the challenges involved in handling reports on criminal content or content that is relevant to youth media protection law. We regularly receive reports concerning depictions of abuse of minors, depictions of violence, and racist and other content relevant to criminal law or the protection of minors.  Measures such as upload filters may be laboring away with the supposed symptoms, but they do not help to combat the causes,” said Alexandra Koch-Skiba, Head of the eco Complaints Office at today’s presentation event.

Last year, a total of 96.33% of all content reported upon by the eco Complaints Office could be taken down or otherwise legalized (e.g. through implementation of an age verification system) – worldwide! This shows that self-regulation works – on an international as well as a national level.


Combatting unlawful content must be the task of society as a whole

Effectively combatting the causes of illegal Internet content requires solidarity across the board and cohesion and must be understood as a task for society as a whole: “Through successful cooperation with complaints offices and law enforcement agencies, Internet providers and companies are already showing a great deal of responsibility. We are on the right track in Germany, but it must be clear that rigorous criminal prosecution is essential in order to get to the root of the problem and combat crimes on the Internet in a sustainable manner. The state must combat the cause of the problem by effectively prosecuting the perpetrators and create greater public awareness of illegal statements and content by promoting media literacy,” says Koch-Skiba.


Media skills

Imparting media skills is a major challenge and undertaking. Those responsible often reach their limits, especially due to the fast-moving pace of the popular social networks and messenger services. The eco Complaints Office is also available, among other things, for parents’ evenings and teacher training courses, in order to sensitize people to legal risks and thus promote the positive use of all online services.

The detailed Annual Report of the eco Complaints Office is available under go.eco.de/annual-report-2018.


Further information on the eco Complaints Office:

The eco Complaints Office has been fighting illegal content on the Internet for around 20 years. It is embedded in the system of regulated self-regulation and has, in particular, the task of improving youth protection on the Internet. Since its foundation, it has cooperated continuously with law enforcement agencies, in particular with the German Federal Criminal Police Office. All information on the eco Complaints Office’s services can be found on the new homepage: go.eco.de/eco-complaints-office

Suspicious Internet content of any kind can be directly submitted here by means of an online complaint form. The report can also be made anonymously, if desired.

eco Complaints Office Annual Report 2018: “Principle of Take-down Instead of Blocking Works”