German officials have threatened to impose fine on Facebook over hate speech and fake news, local media reported on Tuesday.
Thomas Oppermann, the Parliamentary Leader of Germany’s Centre-Left Social Democratic Party (SPD), told Der Spiegel, the English language international edition of the German news source, that tougher measures should be taken against the spread of offending and fake messages.
He said “if after taking necessary checks Facebook doesn’t promptly remove the offending messages in 24 hours, then Facebook has to reckon with severe fine of up to 500,000 Euros (523,000 dollars).’’
Oppermann advised Germans to timely report hateful messages within 24 hours “to market-leading platforms” like Facebook for further check.
The SPD leader added that these platforms should set up special departments in Germany that could provide users with round-the-clock legal protection. He said that other measures would also be taken to keep a healthy environment on the internet.
The German Minister of Justice, Heiko Mass in an article published on Saturday on Sueddeutsche Zeitung also cautioned Facebook against “legal consequences if it refuses to delete insults, hatred against certain groups or slanderous contents on its platform.’’
Mass added that penalty was also being considered to provide effective incentives for quick action. Adam Mosseri, the Vice President of Facebook in charge of news feed said a programme had started to work with third-party fact checking organisations to enable users to report a hoax.
Facebook had been under pressure for a while as it had many fake news on its network during the U.S. election year, misleading voters and having impacted the result of the presidential election. German mainstream media worry about such a potential impact on the results of German elections in 2017. Report says the European country is facing an increase in far right-wing groups.