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German parliament votes to fine social media over hate speech

  • Published at 11:23 pm June 30th, 2017
  • Last updated at 11:56 pm June 30th, 2017
German parliament votes to fine social media over hate speech
The German parliament on Friday approved a plan to fine social media networks up to €50m if they fail to remove hateful postings promptly, despite concerns the law could limit free expression. Germany has some of the world’s toughest laws covering defamation, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, with prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. But few online cases are prosecuted. The law gives social media networks 24 hours to delete or block obviously criminal content and seven days to deal with less clear-cut cases, with an obligation to report back to the person who filed the complaint about how they handled the case. Failure to comply could see a company fined up to €50m, and the company’s chief representative in Germany fined up to €5m. It also made clear that a fine would not necessarily be imposed after just one infraction, but only after a company systematically refused to act or does not set up a proper complaint management system.
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