New social media law comes into effect in Germany

The law affects all German publishers and social networks with over 2 million users

A new law affecting social media has come into effect in Germany. As of 1 January 2018, any German publisher or social network with more than 2 million members or users must remove "obviously illegal" content within 24 hours or face massive fines. Under the NetzDG law, which translates as the Network Enforcement Act, sites can be fined up to €50 million for failure to remove illegal content within the allotted time period. Illegal content includes fake news, hate speech, racist and nationalist content. The new law has been criticised for a variety of reasons. Some commentators are concerned about the vagueness of the law, arguing that it could be used to erode free speech and turn publishers and social networks into “opinion police”. Others argue that a Europe-wide solution should be found, rather than individual countries coming up with their own laws. 

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