Friday, December 16, 2016

German Law Would Require Facebook, Social Media to Delete Fake News, Hate Speech

Legislators’ proposal prompted by concerns over manipulating elections


Developments in the U.S. have triggered fears in Germany that some people may try to tip the outcome of elections by spreading misinformation on Facebook and other social media. Photo: Franz-Peter Tschauner/Zuma Press
By
Friedrich Geiger

BERLIN— Facebook Inc. and its social media peers would be required to swiftly remove fake news and hate speech from their platforms under a law proposed by senior German legislators aimed at addressing fears of meddling in next year’s parliamentary elections.
The companies would be required to act within 24 hours after a person affected by a post flagged it to them, said Volker Kauder, the parliamentary floor leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, on Friday. The governing coalition would move early next year to create a law obliging the platforms to establish a complaint-management system, he added.
Mr. Kauder’s statement followed allegations that the proliferation of fake news on social media affected public discourse during the U.S. presidential campaign. Developments in the U.S. have triggered fears in Germany and other countries that some people may try to tip the outcome of elections by spreading misinformation.
“After years of discussions, the social media must now unfortunately be forced to take responsibility,” said Mr. Kauder. “Only in this way we can counter further brutalization and willful manipulation of political debate in the net,” he said.
Thomas Oppermann, the floor leader of junior coalition partner the Social Democrats, said he largely agreed with Mr. Kauder’s demand for such a law. Facebook should face fines of as much as €500,000 ($520,750) if it failed to remove fake news in a timely manner, Mr. Oppermann told magazine Der Spiegel.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The proposal comes amid warnings that Russia may attempt to sway Germany’s parliamentary elections, due in the second half of next year. Michael Grosse-Brömer, a senior lawmaker of the Christian Democrats, said Tuesday that Russia may try to weaken Ms. Merkel in the election and called for an assessment of how to combat manipulative activity on the internet.
Messrs. Kauder and Oppermann proposed the law a day after Facebook said it would take steps to demote some fake information from users’ news feed.
Mr. Kauder said that victims of fake news should have the right to get information from the social platforms to find out who created the hateful posts.
Mr. Oppermann said that social media platforms should be obliged to publish a correction and give it the same reach if demanded by an affected person, according to Der Spiegel.
Facebook started an initiative in Germany about a year ago aimed at encouraging users to counter hateful posts on its websites, in a response to criticism from politicians that the company didn’t do enough to counter racist comments.
Write to Friedrich Geiger at friedrich.geiger@wsj.com
Fake News = Hate Speech = Racist And without it, it's all gonna be rainbows and unicorns.  

1 comment:

micktherighteousgentile said...

Isn't Germany the country where holocaust fake news is protected by law and truth tellers are imprisoned?.