Germany to fine social media over hate speech

Social media platforms like Facebook could be fined up to S$79 million for failing to remove hateful postings promptly.
Social media platforms like Facebook could be fined up to S$79 million for failing to remove hateful postings promptly.PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German parliament on Friday (June 30) approved a plan to fine social networks up to 50 million (S$79 million) euros if they fail to remove hateful postings quickly, despite concerns the law could limit free expression.

Germany has some of the world's toughest laws covering defamation, public incitement to commit crimes and threats of violence, with prison sentences for Holocaust denial or inciting hatred against minorities. But few online cases are prosecuted.

The measure requires social media platforms to remove obviously illegal hate speech and other postings within 24 hours after receiving a notification or complaint, and to block other offensive content within seven days.