German minister proposes slapping fines up to 50m Euros on social media sites

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Germany’s justice minister is proposing fines of up to 50 million euros ($53 million) for social networking sites that fail to remove illegal content such as hate speech or defamatory “fake news.”

The announcement on Tuesday is another step in Germany’s attempt to impose its strict domestic laws against incitement on the free-wheeling world of online chatter, said a media report.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party, said that social media companies had already taken voluntary steps to crack down on hate crimes that have resulted in improvements.

The minister is still not satisfied and said that Twitter deletes just 1pc of illegal content flagged by users, while Facebook deletes 39pc.

The proposal requires companies to provide around-the-clock service for users to flag illegal content, which would then have to be removed from the site within seven days.