Germany Approves Plans To Fine Social Media Firms Up To $57M

Social media companies face fines of up to 50m Euro ($57m) if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites under a new law passed in Germany. From a report: The German parliament on Friday approved the bill aimed at cracking down on hate speech, criminal material and fake news on social networks — but critics warn it could have drastic consequences for free speech online. Germany has some of the world’s toughest laws covering defamation, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, with prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. The measure requires social media platforms to remove obviously illegal hate speech and other postings within 24 hours after receiving a notification or complaint, and to block other offensive content within seven days. The German justice minister, Heiko Maas, who was the driving force behind the bill, said: “Freedom of speech ends where the criminal law begins.”


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