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German officials warn Facebook of fines over fake news

ImageFile: German officials warn Facebook of fines over fake news

German officials have recently threatened to fine Facebook over hate speech and fake news, local media reported.

Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), on Friday told Der Spiegel that tougher measures should be designed against the spread of offending and fake messages.

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“If after taking the necessary checks Facebook doesn’t promptly remove the offending messages with 24 hours, then Facebook has to reckon with a severe fine of up to 500,000 euros (523,000 dollars),” Oppermann said.

The official advised Germans to timely report hateful messages within 24 hours to “market-leading platforms” like Facebook for further information check.

Oppermann added that these platforms should set up special departments in Germany that could provide users with round-the-clock legal protection. He said other measures would also be taken to keep a healthy environment on the internet.

Minister of Justice Heiko Mass in an article published Saturday on Sueddeutsche Zeitung also cautioned Facebook against “legal consequences” if it doesn’t 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, vice president of Facebook in charge of news feed, on Thursday said a program had been started to work with third-party fact checking organizations to enable users to report a hoax.

Facebook has been under pressure for a while as fake news stories have been abundant on its network during this 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 next year. The European country is facing the rise of far right-wing groups.

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