Germany threatens social media giants with €50 million fine for fake news, hate speech and objectionable content

As per government order, racist language and similar objectionable content have to be removed within 24 hours by the social media.


A measure that could become pivotal and, perhaps, mandatory in recent years, the government of countries have finally started to intervene and put forward punitive measures to social media platforms that have time and again failed to deal with hate speech, illegal content and fake news. Germany has threatened Google, Twitter and Facebook with a €50million fine if they fail to stop such posts.

Fake news has become a major source of discord among netizens and its widespread effects have raised the warning bells of concern in the recent times. As The Telegraph reports, according to the revised guidelines by the authority of German government, social media platforms will now get seven days to delete offending material and have to run 24-hour help lines for users, who have been affected by it. Racist language and similar objectionable content have to be dealt with and removed within a span of 24 hours.

Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas suggested these stringent measures as a method to combat the harmful growth of fake news that has massive sway in adversely influencing the election process of nations and due to a lack of serious effort by social media platforms and others to curb it, "It is now clear that we must further increase the pressure on social networks....We need legal regulations to make companies even more obligated to eradicate criminal offences." Furthermore Maas said this was necessary as "The biggest problem is that the networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough."

When the Inquirer asked the social media giants to comment on this issue, a Facebook spokesperson replied in a statement, "We have clear rules against hate speech and work hard to keep it off our platform. We are committed to working with the government and our partners to address this societal issue. ...By the end of the year over 700 people will be working on content review for Facebook in Berlin. We will look into the legislative proposal by the Federal Ministry of Justice."

Google and Twitter, however, didn't respond to the query.

Related topics : Fake news