Germany to fine Facebook 500,000 euros over fake posts

London, Dec 18 (IANS) A day after Facebook said it was stepping up efforts against fake news and hoaxes, Germany announced a new law that will empower it to fine the social media giant 500,000 euros ($522,575) for every problematic post that does not vanish within 24 hours.

“After years of asking, cajoling and threatening the US social network to work faster to tackle fake news and hate speech, Berlin made clear it is no longer interested in self-regulation,” a report in Irish Times said on Sunday.

“Facebook did not use the chance to regulate complaint management properly,” Thomas Oppermann, the Bundestag floor leader of Germany’s ruling Social Democrats (SPD), was quoted as saying.

He said that after a “long and intensive effort to build bridges” with the company, the SPD and its coalition partner, chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), have agreed to present new legislation in the new year.

The law will oblige all dominant internet platforms operating in Germany to have a legal contact, operating round-the-clock, for victims of hate speech and fake news, the report said.

Currently, Facebook users in Germany complain to the platform’s headquarters in Dublin — with an unclear response and action time.

According to the law, the person affected by the fake news can demand a “correction with the same reach” as the original post.

Facebook was accused of allowing fake news to be posted during the US presidential election in November.

Facebook on Thursday it was stepping up efforts against fake news and hoaxes by testing several ways to make it easier to report a hoax if users see one on the social media network.

Facebook asked its users to flag fake news stories which will be verified by third party fact-checkers.

According to media reports, Facebook was going to work with five fact-checking agencies – ABC News, AP, FactCheck.org, Politifact and Snopes.

–IANS

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