back to article Germany to Facebook, Twitter: We are *this* close to fining you €50m unless you delete fake news within 24 hours

The German government has formally proposed fining Facebook and Twitter up to €50m ($53m) for failing to remove slanderous fake news and hate speech within 24 hours. A new bill introduced on Tuesday by interior minister Heiko Maas is designed to "combat hate crime and criminal offenses on social networks more effectively," …

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Start with CNN

        They don't do Satire very well on that side of the pond.

        Or bacon, or beer, or chocolate. They're world leading on hambeasts and starting wars in far away places, thought.

    1. Phil.T.Tipp
      Trollface

      Re: Start with CNN

      @troland - yup, the old Clinton News Netywork - they've only doubled down with the fake newsery since the God-Emperor ascended, and how. It's desperately sad, but endlessly funny.

      1. BOH1066

        Re: Start with CNN

        i think you meant to say "rapist-god-emperor' also, veles, macedonia and paul horner are 2 examples which immediately spring to mind when the subject of fake news arises. and neither is associated with the dems and are but the tip of the iceberg. unfortunately, both sides of the political aisle are guilty of betraying the public trust, time and time again. admittedly, it'd be nice if the problem weren't compounded by admissions involving sexual predation, both committing and encouraging the acts, but that was too much to hope for.....

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Facebook share/like

    ..is the problem. Most crap on facebook that resulted in me deleting my old profile (used mostly to share photos of hill walking trips, etc) was not written by any of the "friend list" individuals, but it was re-posted by the share or like options. In fact very little original materiel, only maybe the day's bowel movement times, was written by many of them.

    That is why crap spreads so fast: most of the asshats on FB don't bother to check what it is, who posted it, or what it might result in. I know one guy who was 'liking' posted by the UK's far-right Britain First mob, when I pointed this out he was surprised and apologised for spreading it. Then about a month later back to his asshattery by re-posting stuff without checking or thinking...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook share/like

      If ever any of your family gets raped or murdered by The Others, you might think differently!

      Naivety is not an excuse for treason, and always gets remembered...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since when has twatter and foolbook been reliable sources of news or anything for that matter ?

    What constitutes hate speech, I hate the Government ?

    Never been keen on censorship as it's a slippery road to editing history and a totalitarian state.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What constitutes hate speech, I hate the Government ?

      "Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation" would be a good place to start.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial

        Not necessarily........

        The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 inserted Section 4A into the Public Order Act 1986. That part prohibits anyone from causing alarm or distress. Section 4A states:

        (1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he— (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

        I still say it's censorship of free speech, there are circumstances where this legislation can be abused to suppress free speech.

        I'm with Rowan Atkinson on this:

        https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/dec/07/raceandreligion.broadcasting

        To paraphrase:

        "it is the duty of a comedian to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          well given b is infinitely broad.

          I mean, for example, observing that "simply removing your penis and saying you're a woman doesn't make you a woman." Is hate crime.

          And that saying that maybe legal British residents should be the priority of care is also apparently possibly hate crime... I mean hate crime is overly broad and to be honest a non-sense.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        "Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation" would be a good place to start.

        That you got any downvotes is both stunning and appalling.

        1. Phil.T.Tipp
          FAIL

          @ecofeco - Take your morally superior, elitist, virtue signalling bullshit and shove it, sunshine.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >That you got any downvotes is both stunning and appalling.

          The reason it received downvotes is because from a legal point of view it's inaccurate, hate speech laws are much broader than this, very much like RIPA and the snoopers charter suffer from excessive overreach.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge

          "Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation" would be a good place to start.

          That you got any downvotes is both stunning and appalling.

          Why? I've received threats of violence and death based on all 3 (one of the "death threats" was only a technical death-threat, as in "I'll kill you you honky bastard"; probably not intended as a death threat but legally it is). So-called Christians who wanted me dead because I'm gay, gays who (before I came out to them) wanted me dead because I'm Christian...

          Why is it "stunning and appalling" that someone should get downvotes for the posted comment?

      3. poohbear

        So that gets the bible banned then.... not like the author is going to issue a retraction.

      4. SundogUK

        But it's only ever the start.

      5. fajensen Silver badge

        B..but The enforcement of that would be deeply discriminatory against that special religion that always get a free pass (possibly because it's sponsors blows so much oil money on western weapons and stuff).

      6. Mycho Silver badge

        "Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation" would be a good place to start.

        The issue is not where it starts, but where it ends.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Speech that advocates the injury or death of others based on their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation" would be a good place to start.

        I hate Islam too. Welcome aboard brother.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      What constitutes hate speech, I hate the Government ?

      It is very clearly defined in the law books (BGB, Bundesgesetzbuch).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What constitutes hate speech?

      It surely has to take the scope of the speech into account?

      If I were to declare that "All Irish are scum and should be rounded up & gassed." I would rightly be accused of hate speech. There's no way that argument could be defended.

      On the other hand, if I said that "my Irish neighbour is a thieving wee gobshite who should be strung up" it may be slander and I could be sued for it, or it could be personal opinion based on fact. Either way, it's not broad enough to be "hate speech". IMO.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >If I were to declare that "All Irish are scum and should be rounded up & gassed." I would rightly be accused of hate speech. There's no way that argument could be defended.

        I would defend your right to say that but also I would argue against you as I believe a person holding those views is bigoted and extreme. The worst thing would be to force it underground, let people say it in the open so it can be challenged.

  3. Crazy Operations Guy

    "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

    Yeah, except that that right explicitly does not cover libel or slander...

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

      Nor calls to violence and destruction.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

      Personally I am sick and tired of hearing that "free speech" means I have to accept someone racially insulting someone else.

      Free speech should mean free to bring intelligence to the debate, not hate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

        >Personally I am sick and tired of hearing that "free speech" means I have to accept someone racially insulting someone else.

        Personally I'm sick of hearing people telling me what I can't say, too many thinned skinned whiners in this world today who constantly bleat how unjust life is. Life is unfair, live with it and get on with it.

        Or perhaps you would like a return to blasphemy laws where I'm stoned to death, imprisoned or burnt at the stake for criticising religion ?

        If someone is allowed to advocate something then I should be able to disagree and argue against the issue irrespective of the topic.Hate laws tread on this most basic of human privileges, go and read the legislation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

          "Personally I'm sick of hearing people telling me what I can't say, too many thinned skinned whiners in this world today who constantly bleat how unjust life is. Life is unfair, live with it and get on with it."

          Life is unfair, live with it and get on with it.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "burnt at the stake for criticising religion"

          I see, so for you, racially insulting someone is criticizing religion.

          No wonder this world is going in circles.

          And you need to get with the times : these days stoning is out, beatings are given with baseball bats.

          We're modern now.

        3. BOH1066

          Re: "which gives strong legal defense to all forms of speech no matter how offensive"

          wow....i don't know whether to laugh at the irony or pity the sincerity of your comment.

  4. J.Smith
    Trollface

    First one to mention Nazi's

    Ve hav ways ov making you not talk.

    1. DanceMan

      Re: First one to mention Nazi's

      Leave Erdogan out of this.

      If this proposal about fake news were to be enacted, would Erdogan's German Facebook page consist of a lot of white space?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Danceman

        "If this proposal about fake news were to be enacted, would Erdogan's German Facebook page consist of a lot of white space?"

        Doubtful, but I do get the impression that the European leaders would be all too happy to keep sending fines his way. And after he paid the government then problem solved I guess.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    widely assumed situation that social networks are an online free-for-all.

    Mainly a point of principle by the operators as they don't want to be regulated as publishers or media. They are.

    Your average "forum" takes more care about what is allowed to be published.

  6. ZenCoder
    FAIL

    Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

    Seriously?

    If Germany demands the right to censor the internet due to German law ... then there are 190+ countries ready to line up to follow suit. You know how many crazy censorship laws there are out there?

    Second point, define obvious. I'd like to see someone try to give a simple but accurate definition of what does and does not constitute obvious "defamation, slander, public prosecution, crimes, and threats" under German law. Shouldn't take more than a few pages to define, nor more than a few seconds for a support center drone to determine.

    So who is next? China, Turkey, Thailand?

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

      Social media sites aren't 'the internet'. They're just the tabloid end. Clean them up and leave the rest alone.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

        Exactly. They ARE NOT the Internet, but like AOL back in they day, they want you to think they are.

        For profit organizations have no civil rights, they just want you to think they do.

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

        Social media sites aren't 'the internet'. They're just the tabloid end. Clean them up and leave the rest alone.
        Or... just ignore them...

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

      Second point, define obvious.

      An example cited was that the German government issued a travel warning for Sweden which never happened.

      I'm no fan of censorship but I understand the German legal and constitutional position on propaganda and hate speech and the law seems to fall within those bounds. It should also be noted that there are robust provisions for freedom of speech in general and satire in particular.

    3. Named coward

      Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

      intentional defamation according to german law in one sentence: "Whosoever intentionally and knowingly asserts or disseminates an untrue fact related to another person, which may defame him or negatively affect public opinion about him or endanger his creditworthiness"

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Hasn't history taught us to think twice before appeases the Germans?

        knowingly asserts or disseminates an untrue fact related to another person

        Fact: "Something that has really occurred or is actually the case; something certainly known to be of this character; hence, a particular truth known by actual observation or authentic testimony, as opposed to what is merely inferred, or to a conjecture or fiction [OED]

        Presumably the inscrutable German lawmakers have included a method to determine the difference between true truths and untrue truths... Or maybe not.

  7. nilfs2
    Childcatcher

    Censoring is not the solution...

    ...education is. Instead covering people's eyes to not see "bad things", the government should improve the education system to teach kids an teens not to be the idiots their irresponsible parents keep spawning and raising.

    1. The Nazz Silver badge

      Education, Education, Education

      Re: Censoring is not the solution...

      Only if it's done correctly (and who defines that? the biggest brown envelope recipient?).

      In recent times wasn't there some well educated politcal twit (see what i did there) who used that as one of his catchphrases?

      Yet still managing to give out the entirely "fake news" that some middle eastern country "had weapons of mass destruction they could ready for use within 45 mins" and then proceeding to bomb the fuck out of them?

      Surely, if one is to be prosecuted for hate speech and fake news then we have a prime candidate there.

      A fine f*****g example and leader there,not, and anyone wonders why there is so much hatred around the place?

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Education, Education, Education

        Yet still managing to give out the entirely "fake news" that some middle eastern country "had weapons of mass destruction they could ready for use within 45 mins" and then proceeding to bomb the fuck out of them?
        Untrue truths? I wonder which the Iraqi populace would have preferred. Hate speech or having the fuck bombed out of them?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    YouTube firmer than Facebook or Twitter? (Titter ye not!)

    "When it comes to YouTube, it has a much firmer policy than Facebook or Twitter and will take content down very quickly and require users to argue their case for putting it back up."

    Try telling that to all the people in the music industry who have ever tried to get YouTube to take down videos that are in breach of copyright. They appear to be happier to keep making their money from the ads they deliver with the content, irrespective of whether it is illegal or not.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: YouTube firmer than Facebook or Twitter? (Titter ye not!)

      Try telling that to all the people in the music industry who have ever tried to get YouTube to take down videos that are in breach of copyright.
      It is true that there are many musicians that would rather you never got to hear their music. Go figure!

      OTOH there are many fine musicians who appreciate the exposure youtube provides and subsequent sales.

      Alan Gogoll: Bell's Harmonic [Bell Harmonics Guitar Technique]

  9. DanceMan

    Re: Canada debating a bill that would criminalize Islamophobia

    Untrue. While this has been controversial, it has been reported numerous times in Canadian media as not being a legal proposal, not legislation, but more an expression of condemnation or opinion.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Canada debating a bill that would criminalize Islamophobia

        Making threats of violence has never been and never will be legal.

        To defend those threats is psychopathic.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Truckle The Uncivil

            Re: Canada debating a bill that would criminalize Islamophobia

            We have had this debate in Australia for a while and it is a non issue.

            <quote>However, if some snowflake claims that my saying that the Quran is full of violence, misogyny, child marriage, and intolerance toward other religions threatens their "emotional safety" or is equivalent to "speech inciting violence," they should seek counseling.</q>

            That claim would not stand up in court as the koran (and bible and, and ad nauseam) actually contains the items you mention.

            It is how you say it. Make it a statement of fact and there is no case to answer. Make it an emotion ridden tirade and it is hate speech. It is quite simple. It comes down to "mind your manners in public". Use reason not rancour.

            1. evilhippo

              Re: Canada debating a bill that would criminalize Islamophobia

              "That claim would not stand up in court as the koran (and bible and, and ad nauseam) actually contains the items you mention."

              Your faith in courts is touching. Once the state passes a law against hurt feelings (i.e. branding free speech "hate speech"), the truth of a statement becomes irrelevant, only what emotional effect the statement has.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019