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Germany asks Facebook to curb hate speech, else face fines

Hate Speech is really turning out to be a poser for Facebook. The company has been facing criticism from all quarters over what is being called as its inefficiency in dealing with hate speech and abuse. Now, a senior German conservative politician has threatened the social media network with heavy fines, unless it is able to tackle the issue more effectively.

At a party conference of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) in Essen, western Germany, Volker Kauder said that the efforts by social media providers were to crack down on hate speech were far from satisfactory and that his government should consider a more heavy handed approach.

I expect from big companies like Facebook that they adhere to laws. If they are not respected than we must think about new possibilities, fines for example.

Fake news and hate speech has particularly taken off this year. In Europe, many put it down to the millions of refugees that have fled the war in the middle east. However, following allegations that fake news on Facebook was directly able to influence the outcome of the US elections, politicians at least, have gotten very wary. Germany is due for elections next year and politicians from the ruling part want the issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

An argument that it is hard for Facebook to monitor every post considering the 1.6 Billion or so MAU it has, was also rejected outright.

They say there is too much. But a big auto manufacturer that produces millions of cars can’t say: I produce so many cars that I can’t guarantee they are all secure. No, that is not on. I expect and demand from Facebook that laws are upheld.

Some time ago Justice Minister Heiko Maas invited representatives from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to sit down and together come up with a solution for online hate speech. It was there that the Social Media Platforms agreed to remove hate speech within 24 hours after report. One year down the line though, nothing much has changed. While Facebook was found to have removed about 46 percent of illegal content reported by users within 24 hours, YouTube and Twitter were able to delete just 10 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Of course, fake news and hate speech on Facebook has a lot more effect than if its on YouTube or Twitter. Which is also why it is attracting the bulk of ire from regulatory bodies and governments. Meanwhile, the government could bring in legislations involving fines for social media platforms that are unable to re move 70 percent of reported content within 24 hours, by March next year.

We have a roundtable and now we must wait … but after the Christmas break is the end of the roundtables. We’ve sat at roundtables long enough. Now we want to see actions.

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Germany asks Facebook to curb hate speech, else face fines


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