German Law Would Require Facebook, Social Media to Delete Fake News, Hate Speech
Legislators’ proposal prompted by concerns over manipulating elections
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.
Franz-Peter Tschauner/Zuma Press
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Kauder said that victims of fake news should have the right to get
information from the social platforms to find out who created the
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.
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.