MINISTRY OF TRUTH

Germany threatens to fine Facebook €500,000 for each fake news post

Earlier this week, Facebook said that it would be partnering with fact-checking sites like Snopes to help weed out the fake news that has been plaguing the site in recent years. But it seems that Germany is not confident that self-regulation will be enough.

The chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, Thomas Oppermann, has suggested a new law that would require companies like Facebook to set up an office in the country that would deal with fake news and hate speech at all hours of the day. According to English-language version of the German news site Deutsche Welle, German legislators are considering whether to institute a policy that if Facebook’s local office did not delete the news item or hate speech within 24 hours, the social network could expect a fine of €500,000 euros ($522,575) per item.

The move is partly in response to fears that fake news posts could have an affect on the German parliamentary elections taking place in 2017, according to the Financial Times. Facebook has repeatedly said since the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump in the US that fake news on its site, which has roughly 180 million users in the US and Canada, could not have affected the election. Facebook’s insistence that it’s not a media company, even though it’s suspended foreign news outlets and blocked iconic war photographs in recent months, came at a time when it was revealed that the 20 highest-performing fake news stories outperformed the 20 most-read news stories from legitimate news outlets.

The ruling coalition in Germany, which includes the Christian Democratic Union, chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, has said that it wants to have laws in the books mitigating the spread of fake news and hate speech before the 2017 election, according to Deutsche Welle.

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