Germany will begin to impose fines on social networks that do not comply with the law -


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Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Germany will begin to impose fines on social networks that do not comply with the law

Germany will begin to impose fines on social networks. The German Council of Ministers approved on Wednesday a bill that includes fines of up to 50 million euros for social networks that do not suppress hate messages and "false and criminal information." The technologists will have 24 hours to eliminate offensive posts

The objective of imposing fines on social networks is to prohibit the existence of offensive content on these sites.

Promoted by the Minister of Justice, the Social Democrat Heiko Maas, the text, which still needs to be approved by the parliament, states that if these deadlines are not respected, the companies discovered are exposed to pay "up to 50 million euros" in fines, and the responsible individuals within the social networks will pay up to five million euros.

From yesterday, January 1, the social networks that do not remove, in the space of 24 hours or, in seven days, for "more complex cases", messages or hate speech, for example, the neo-Nazi propaganda, run the risk of be the target of these fines to social networks

"Affected" companies include "Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat," and although "professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing are expressly excluded, as well as messaging services such as WhatsApp," the BBC has noted that sites like Vimeo and Flickr can also be audited.

Although users can also report illicit content to German federal authorities, technology giants have improved their internal systems to discover these flaws. Youtube decided to hire more employees to form the content moderation team. Twitter introduced new tools to inform about this type of publications.

There have been several European Union countries that have taken strong positions against the proliferation of hate speech online, as well as protecting the privacy of their citizens by imposing fines on social networks through legislation.

Recall for example, that in the United Kingdom, technology companies are required to publish an annual report in which they must explain how to deal with cyber bullying on their platforms. Non-compliance can be worth fines up to 20 million pounds.

"When they do not fight effectively and are not subject to judicial procedures, hate crimes represent a great threat to peaceful coexistence in a free, open and democratic society," the government of Angela Merkel said in a statement. Last year, the German government banned an ultra-right Internet platform and two of its founders were arrested.

"The manifestly criminal publications must be eliminated or blocked in 24 hours since they are known, the other criminal content, have a lapse of seven days," the statement continues. "This also concerns the copies of these criminal contents," the government adds.

Apart from racist speeches, the apology for "terrorism", pedophilia, defamation, incitement to commit crimes and threats of all kinds to apply fines to social networks are also contemplated.

The government points out that the arrival of social networks caused "a massive change" in relations between people: "the culture of online debate is often aggressive, hurtful and often full of hate."

Internet giants, such as Facebook, committed in December 2015 to review and suppress comments posted by users expanding in Germany within 24 hours, especially after the arrival of 890,000 migrants this year.

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