According to news a new proposed German legislation if passed will allow German government to fine social media networks including Facebook and Twitter for publishing fake news and hate speech. Recently social media networks have been under pressure to combat fake news and hate speech. According to the proposed legislation Facebook and Twitter will have to pay a heavy fine of up to €50m if they fail to remove any reported fake news or hate speech within 24 hours.
This law will require social media to remove the criminal content within 24 hours from all over the platform and not just a specific instance of the content. This law also requires companies to publish a report on quarterly basis mentioning the complaints, the decision to remove the criminal content and staffing of its complaints units. In case the company disputes the illegality of the content then the decision will be automatically transferred to German Courts which will decide its fate.
There have been several complaints worldwide against the fake news and hate speech content published and shared on both Facebook and Twitter. Both the companies have assured on several instances that the objected will be removed from their platform but failed to do so. Some of the instances were even ignored by these companies.
Twitter and Facebook both follow United States First Amendment which gives legal defense to any form of speech respectively. The laws are different globally. There are several countries which have laws to combat such speeches. Mr Maas pointed out that with its popularity internet is taking on an increasingly important role in our societies and argues that “verbal radicalization is often the precursor to physical violence.”
Mr Mass also references a report which mentioned that during last one year Twitter only removed 1% of the content while Facebook deleted 39% of the criminal content.
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After this law these companies will have to take swift and serious action to combat fake news and hate speech or they will have to pay heavy fines. It is ethical responsibility of these companies to stop publishing posts which contains criminal content.