The German government has announced that they are considering imposing sanctions on internet sites that produce “fake news.”
The fines being considered will charge platforms like Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the site has “fake news” stories up for readers to view.
According to HEATSTREET, the new bill, which is said to have bipartisan support, will allow both official and private complainants to flag content that is considered “fake news.”
Germany’s parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party, Thomas Oppermann, told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, “If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros.”
Social networks would also be required to create offices to regulate flagged news. They would also be responsible to ensure proper compensations were made when users had slandered someone.
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, told Bild am Sonntag, “Facebook is earning an awful lot of money with fake news. A company that earns billions from the internet also has a social responsibility.”
Patrick Sensburg, a senior MP in Merkel’s party, said, “Targeting disinformation to destabilize a state should be a criminal offence.”
Because of the said hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the recent U.S. election by the Kremlin, German officials reportedly believe that this new regulation will prevent Russia from interfering in Parliamentary elections scheduled for next year.
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