Germany may start issuing fines to social media firms for fake news

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German politicians seem to be as fed up with fake news as the rest of us and they’re issuing social media firms an ultimatum.

Politicians in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Christian Democrats (CDU) want to pass legislation that would force firms such as Facebook to set up a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

The office would allow users to report fake news and instances of hate messages sent to them and if firms don’t comply it could get costly.

“If, after appropriate examination, Facebook does not delete the offending message within 24 hours, it should expect individual fines of up to 500,000 euros,” SDP parlimentary chairman Thomas Opperman told Der Spiegel.

What’s more is that in addition to the fine from the German government, those that fall prey to fake news or hate messages would be able to claim damages from social media firms “within the same range of value.”

Burden of responsibility

As we’ve discussed before, fake news is everybody’s problem and we need to work together to stop the spread of misinformation that can potentially fuel tension among people. The thing is though that we actually need to do something and tweaking algorithms is not the miracle solution that will fix everything.

“There has been only talk for too long. Now we in the coalition will take action at the beginning of next year,” senior member of the CDU, Volker Kauder said.

How Facebook and indeed other social media firms, respond to these plans remains to be seen.

[Via – DW] [Image – CC by 2.0 Mambembe Arts & Crafts]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.