German cabinet pushed ahead a legislative draft to staunch the fake news and hate speech circulation. According to the law, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter may face fine as much as much as 50 million euro.
On Wednesday, cabinet Chancellor Angela Merkel preceded a bill with distinct categories. The categories are as the draft contains child pornography and terrorism inciter. The social networking companies should get rid of any contents belongs to those categories. Eventually, the authority will hold the power to fine, separately as much as 5 million euro, the responsible corporate officer too.
The statement from Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Heiko Maas: Freedom of expression protects also repulsive and ugly utterances in a living democracy. But: Freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins. For criminal incitement and libel, the social networks must be as little space as on the street.
The company’s own commitments have led to initial improvements. These are not yet sufficient. And they are not erased quickly enough. The biggest problem is that the networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough.
Therefore, it is now clear that we must increase the pressure on social networks. We need legal regulations to make companies even more obligated to eradicate criminal offenses.
To this end, we are proposing today a first proposal for a law to improve the enforcement of law in social networks. It establishes binding standards for how social network operators deal with complaints and obliges them to delete criminal content. A breach of these organizational obligations is, according to our proposal, an administrative offense and can be punished with a fine of up to five million euros. The fine itself can be up to 50 million euros. We will not establish a commission of truth in a free society in which freedom of expression applies. But: Because the rules that we propose are directed against the spread of criminal content, they are also a means against criminal “fake news”. “Fake News” are punishable, for example if they fulfill the facts of the offense, slander or the evil slander.