Germany Threatens Social Media Over Content Failings

The German justice minister has warned that social media companies could receive fines of up to 50 million Euros if they are found not to be dealing with illegal content and fake news. He said that social sites were not doing enough to ensure that problematic content was being dealt with. He proposed the introduction of laws that would make it mandatory for illegal posts to be deleted within seven days of them being reported, with “clearly criminal” content having to be removed within 24 hours. Any company found not to be meeting the new policies would face a fine. Whilst Facebook deletes just over a third of its reported content, Twitter only deletes 1%, something that the German justice minister says is “not sufficient”. The proposed law would also apply to any so-called 'fake news' that was found to be slanderous, defamatory or libellous. However, the draft law has come under fire from the German digital trade association Bitkom, which has said that having to remove content within 24 hours would be "impossible” operationally.