Sunday July 02, 2017

Germany to Fine Social Media Companies up to $57M for Hate Speech

Social media companies in Germany will face fines of up to 50M euros ($57.1M) if they fail to remove "obviously illegal" content in time. Facebook, YouTube, and other sites with more than two million users must take down posts containing hate speech or other criminal material within 24 hours. This law is the toughest of its kind in the world and will go into effect in October after the German federal elections.

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[Justice Minister Heiko] Maas, who oversaw the legislation, told the German parliament that online hate crimes had increased by almost 300% in the past few years, adding that "no one should be above the law". The bill was drafted after several high-profile incidents of fake news and criminal hate speech being spread on social media sites in Germany. One case involved the targeting of prominent Green MP Renate Kunast, with a post that falsely suggested she was sympathetic to a refugee who had murdered a German student in the southern city of Freiburg.