The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a “fake news” story up without deleting it.
In the name of combating harms from false news, the German government next year will consider the bill, which has bipartisan support, that will allow both official and private complainants to flag content that is considered “fake news”.
The law would also force the social networks to create in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands and would make these networks responsible for compensation if a post by individual users were found to slander someone.
“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros,” said Germany’s parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party, Thomas Oppermann in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.
German lawmakers believe this bill will help tackle the possibility of Russia meddling in Parliamentary elections scheduled for next year. This follows the allegations that the Kremlin was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee that led to the leak of thousands of emails by key aides to Hillary Clinton.