back to article Germany to Facebook, Twitter: We are *this* close to fining you €50m unless you delete fake news within 24 hours

The German government has formally proposed fining Facebook and Twitter up to €50m ($53m) for failing to remove slanderous fake news and hate speech within 24 hours. A new bill introduced on Tuesday by interior minister Heiko Maas is designed to "combat hate crime and criminal offenses on social networks more effectively," …


  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't mention the flame war

    I did once, but I think I got away with it...

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Don't mention the flame war

      > ... but I think I got away with it...

      Nein, nein, nein! ---------------------->

  2. Baldy50

    Ch-ch-ch-ch changes

    You get credit for that, in my book.

    MCMLXXXIV, nice reminder and I had to have a listen to the track 1984, just out of reverence and cos I hadn't for a long time, meandering a bit, dystopia here we come!

  3. evilhippo

    The only fake news that will be tolerated it official state sanctioned fake news. And of course the state is a fit institution to determine what people can say on-line, particularly the German state, what could possibly go wrong with that?

  4. hoola Silver badge

    Responsibility and Accountability

    What this is doing it attempting to make these global "Tech" companies accountable and responsible for the rubbish that moronic users post. Equally the users are just as culpable, but until the companies involved start getting hit, they will do nothing against the users.

    For far too long the likes of Facebook and Twitter have hidden behind corporate anonymity with the benefit of vast profits, employed the worst of the scumbag lawyers to avoid doing anything.

    Yes the fine is small fry but it is a start.

    The debacle with the BBC and the Facebook images is simply astonishing. Equally, the speed that material was removed after Yvette Copper raised when they were hauled in from of the committee shows how useless these companies are. It took a complaint from at committee before the buggers did anything.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    The Beginning of the End of the Beginning are Novel AI STARTreaties/is a Novel AI STARTreatise

    Surely all news is fake if its design further supports the hiding and obfuscation of vital/virile/viral facts and uncomfortable truths which corrupted and perverse systems would need to remain secret in order not to collapse and create revolutions and civil war events. The masses must increasingly be fed cake and pulp fiction by media in order to not entertain and educate them of that which they ought to know in order not to be enslaved and led by that which they have no command and control over.

    But for anyone to imagine that they can command and control and punish the purveyance of words to worlds with compensatory fines is a sure enough sign of the madness which would currently prevail and presume to be charge of your future and the direction of travel in these novel times and virtual spaces.

    And are these pictures painted in the few words above, not mirrored in and descriptors of your existence today?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    "Free Speech" is not a "Safe Place"

    Its simple really, if you dont turn up for the argument then you lose.

    You try to censor something and it simply goes underground, But it DOESNT go away and then its more likely to come back and bite you in the rear 'seemingly' out of no where.

    Sorry but this is simply the wrong thing to do, regardless of how well intentioned they are.

    Things do not get better if we refuse to talk, yell & scream to each other.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Free Speech" is not a "Safe Place"

      > Its simple really, if you dont turn up for the argument then you lose.

      And if you do turn up for the argument you give credence to every idea, no matter how ludicrous.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Free Speech" is not a "Safe Place"

        And if you do turn up for the argument you give credence to every idea, no matter how ludicrous.

        No, that's what happens when you silence the debate. People start quietly murmuring that the reason you won't face it head on is that you know you'll lose. We've seen where that leads in quite a few recent votes.

  7. Moosh
    Paris Hilton

    "Fake News"

    What does this cover?

    Things they disagree with or officially say isn't happening?

    Isn't this just outright censorship?

    Does this extend to parody sites?

    Does it count CNN?

    1. BOH1066

      Re: "Fake News"

      does it count fox? (ftfy)

  8. P0l0nium

    Does this apply to posts in Welsh ??

    And what happens when I post "fake news" in Navaho ??

  9. Polardog

    You will tow the party line,or else.

  10. TheTick
    Thumb Down


    The most worrying thing about this is the amount of comments supporting the krauts in this.

    Krauts? Whoops is that a hate crime.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Suppression of free speech Erich Honecker would be proud of.

    1. GrapeBunch

      "Suppression of free speech Erich Honecker would be proud of."

      I was thinking that facebook will have ample data to compare the efficiency of their 700 agents, in a city that has hosted several agencies in the past century or so. I wonder what the gold standard of efficiency even is? Probably not the Stasi, because when the State becomes a Surveillance State, there's hardly room for much else. No, I'd guess it would be one of the earlier agencies, despite the less-developed technology.

  12. David Nash Silver badge

    Free Speech

    If Twitter don't want you, it's not a suppression of your free speech. Twitter and Facebook are private corporations, they can allow or bar whoever they want, and choose not to publish whatever they choose.

    1. 22ten

      Re: Free Speech

      Governments who feel their public support them embrace free speech whereas governments who feel threatened by the opinions of the general public will often resort to censorship typically with vague definitions so news they don't like or adverse political opinion can be suppressed usually under the banner of protecting the public (although in reality governments protecting itself from the public)

    2. BOH1066

      Re: Free Speech

      yes, twitter and fb are private companies but, with regard to this specific example, it isn't twitter or fb making the request. it's government threatening action against twitter and fb, if certain 'speech' isn't removed. if the government takes punitive action because of what an individual posts online, whether it's taken against the individual or against the site on which the individual posts, it is very much a suppression of free speech. i loathe the lies and hate which are spread so overtly but i also think it is a VERY BAD IDEA to start censoring what can or can't be said.

  13. Cynic_999

    And so it starts ...

    Government taking back control of what people are permitted to hear after the Internet did so much damage to the effectiveness of media control. "Fake news" and "Hate speech" will inevitably end up being "Anything the government doesn't like," and will include inconvenient truths, any doctrine other than that of those in power and whistle-blowing. As soon as you threaten large penalties for failing to remove something that the government might consider is against its nebulous rules, you will have gross over-censorship taking place in order to err on the side of caution.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: And so it starts ... more Troubles?


      It would be well for government to remember how very badly that sort of sub-prime programming worked in Northern Ireland whenever they ventured to try and gag the rhetoric of Sinn Fein. Do you know of the Troubles and what it leads to? Bombs and bullets, death and destruction aplenty.

  14. AndrewDu

    Cynic_999 posted while I was writing this...but I'll leave it up anyway, since it can't be said too often...

    At what point does "hate speech" morph into "fake news" and then into "anything tptb disagree with" and then into "anything that the people in charge don't want talked about"?

    This is a very dangerous road to start down; pretty soon we're back to just hearing and knowing what the state and its satraps want us to hear and know.

  15. KSan

    Oh no

    I am so embarrassed being a German. The German government does everything possible at the moment to limit free expression of opinions. It feels like a totalitarian state is rising its ugly head.

    1. Kiwi
      Thumb Up

      Re: Oh no

      I am so embarrassed being a German. The German government does everything possible at the moment to limit free expression of opinions. It feels like a totalitarian state is rising its ugly head.

      I am so pleased to see that. I've often wondered if anyone else looks at these laws that the German governments have enacted "because of the problems of the 1930's" and thought "These laws are somehow reminiscent of those times". It may be a slower process, but it looks much the same.

      I am glad I am not alone in seeing this.

      As to feeling ashamed about your country...I am a Kiwi, You don't really have that much to be embarrassed about!

  16. RichCoons

    How is $53M a deterrent? Seems like a daily or number of occurrence fine would get their attention.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how this relates to Pakistan taking steps against FB et al. if they don't identify blasphemers so the state can execute them?

  18. Kiwi

    No. Not a crime.

    I write this as a person who received a ton of abuse growing up, simply because I was "different". Some because I was poor but most because I was gay. Not even effeminate gay, simply preferred boys to girls.

    Freedom of speech is one of our most important freedoms in those countries that have some semblance of it.

    If we don't like something, it is important to be able to say so. If we want to fund an organisation that supports our views, that should be our right. How would the "gay rights" movements had fared if no one was ever allowed to speak out, organise, fund events and so on? Or even earlier, the anti-slavery movements? If it was even illegal to make comments in support of these things, where would we be today?

    If I find someone spouting anti-gay drivel somewhere, I get the chance to do something about it. Their freedom of speech gives me a chance to do something to challenge and maybe change their views (and I have been able to do so in some cases). Giving people a public place so say what they wish gives some chance of those views being challenged, but where people are forced to bottle up their ideas, or only speak of them in very closed groups, well.. When people form small groups and say what is truly felt ONLY in those places it reinforces the "us vs them" attitudes and strengthens their view that what they believe is right and everyone else is wrong. Sometimes this can lead to violence against others, as is supposedly seen with some far-right groups and the likes of the KKK (I say "supposedly" because I only have western media to go on, and lets just say that the NZ news media are not fans of accurate reporting! - and I am also aware of claims that some law officers have carried out "false flag" type events to give the other side a worse name (not saying I believe them all just that I believe it is possible)

    It would be better for everyone if things could be said openly, and freely. In direct bullying of an individual then sure, FB et al should act to help out, but the ability to block such messages by individuals rather than to have the abusers cut of should take precedence.

    And again, I write this as one who had at least planned suicide before my 10th birthday, as a result of what I was being put through by my peers.

    Wish I'd got on to this article when I first opened the tab nearly a week ago!


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