Germany set to curb online chatter with heavy fines

Social Media 3

German’s justice minister aims to spread the country’s rigid domestic laws on provocation to social media by proposing fines of up to $53 million on sites that do not quickly remove “illegal content,” according to ABC News.

The proposal demands companies to provide 24-hour surveillance for users to flag what it calls illegal content, such as defamatory “fake news” or hate speech, and to remove it within seven days.

It is unknown what measures sites like Twitter and Facebook would take to flag such content. Justice Minister Heiko Maas, however, ensures the measure will not restrict freedom of speech in Germany and that there are no plans to create what he called a “truth commission” against fake news.

He did, however, state that “if it constitutes slander, defamation or libel, ” supposed fake news could then be considered illegal content.

The measure set to be put before Parliament has strict provisions. Even if social media companies delete the alleged illegal content from their sites, they would also be required to delete any copies and provide a quarterly report on how they are handling the content.

The proposal even singles out employees of companies, saying if an individual is nominated for handling complaints and fails to meet standards, he or she could face a personal fine of up to 5 million euros.

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment directly but both have insisted they are taking more stringent measures to monitor illegal or unwanted content.

Maas cited research which shows Twitter deletes 1 percent of content flagged by users, while Facebook takes down 39 percent, and stated, “This isn’t sufficient yet.”

H/T: ABC News







 

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