German Chancellor Angela Merkel has apparently decided she’s not willing to take the chance of becoming the latest politician to fall victim to the same “Russian hacking” and “fake news” campaigns which ‘undoubtedly’ caused the downfall of America’s liberal darling, Hillary Clinton (forget those pay-for-play scandals, federal record retention violations and willful non-compliance with Congressional subpeonas…total non-factors in the 2016 election).
And since they can’t really control the actions of those pesky ‘Russian hackers,” Germany’s cabinet has instead decided to pass legislation that would impose serious fines of up to 50 million Euros on any social networks that fail to swiftly remove content that could be deemed “hateful” or “fake news.” Per Yahoo News:
Germany’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new bill that punishes social networking sites if they fail to swiftly remove illegal content such as hate speech or defamatory fake news.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet agreed on rules that would impose fines of up to 50 million euros (53.4 million dollars) on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that the companies offering such online platforms are responsible for removing hateful content. He said the new bill would not restrict the freedom of expression, but intervene only when criminal hatred or intentionally false news are posted.
Of course, all of this begs the question of exactly how German officials define “fake news” as the lines between what is pure ‘fact’ versus ‘opinion’ often grow very blurred in politics. Moreover, politicians themselves are often the biggest purveyors of “fake news”…so if someone quotes the erroneous comments of a German politician on FaceBook is the social network then liable? All questions that would have seemed silly just a year ago…
Nevertheless, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas is convinced that “verbal radicalization” of snowflakes over twitter and Facebook is often a precursor to “physical violence.”
Social networks need to ensure that obviously criminal content — as defined by German law — will be deleted within 24 hours and other illegal content after seven days.
“Just like on the streets, there is also no room for criminal incitement on social networks,” Maas said.
“The internet affects the culture of debate and the atmosphere in our society. Verbal radicalization is often a preliminary stage to physical violence,” he added.
But nevermind the actual ‘radicalization’ occurring in migrant communities throughout Europe at the moment…that is also just “fake news.”
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