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Germany plans social media law

Germany is planning a new law calling for social networks like Facebook to remove slanderous or threatening online postings quickly or face fines, reports Reuters. “This (draft law) sets out binding standards for the way operators of social networks deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content,” justice minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. Failure to comply could see a social media company fined up to 50 million euro, and the company's chief representative in Germany fined up to 5 million euro. “Germany already has some of the world’s toughest hate speech laws covering defamation, slander, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, backed up by prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. It now aims to update these rules for the social media age.” The issue has taken on more urgency amid concern about the spread of fake news and racist content on social media, which often targets more than 1 million migrants who arrived in Germany in the last two years, as well as members of the Jewish community. In late 2015, Germany pressed Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube to sign up to a code of conduct, which included a pledge to delete hate speech from their websites within 24 hours. The draft rules would turn the code of conduct into legal obligations to delete or remove illegal content, to report regularly on the volume of filed complaints, and they also demand that sites make it easier for users to complain about offensive content. Read more 

  • Friday, 17 March 2017

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