German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has proposed a bill that would levy draconian fines against Facebook and other social media for not removing “hateful” content quickly. But that’s not good enough for a Green member of the Bundestag, who wants the crackdown to be even stricter.
Law against hate comments: Künast laments it is only focused on indictable content
March 15 2017
The Green member of German parliament Künast considers the bill by Justice Minister Maas against hate comments in the Social Networks insufficient.
The initiative only concerns indictable content, said the chairwoman of the committee on legal affairs in the Bundestag in Deutschlandfunk. It does not address how Facebook et al. are supposed to deal with hate and insults that are not indictable. But many commenters intentionally leave their wording in a grey zone, Künast stressed. She also criticized the lack of concern on how to deal with fake news, such as, for example, a fictitious quotation.
Maas wants to legally oblige internet companies and social media to delete or block indictable content within 24 hours, and in complicated cases, within seven days. He introduced plans for this yesterday. Breaches are to be penalized with fines up to €50 million. The Minister of Justice lamented that networks had up until now not taken user complaints seriously enough. The existing deletion process is insufficient.
Künast worries that the “long overdue bill” might not pass within this legislative period. Maas presented utterly short-term plans.
The digital association Bitkom declares that due to far too short deadlines and the magnitude of the penalties, “deletion orgies” were imminent. Additionally, it remained unclear how falsely removed content might be reuploaded quickly and with legal security.
The Central Committee of Jews in Germany commended and stressed that a criminal sanctioning of incitement of the people and of Holocaust denial were urgently necessary.