Germany Gives Social Media Companies a Break Over Hate Speech

"Children do not belong in the marriage registry office or the wedding hall" said Justice Minister Heiko Maas in a statement sent to AFPMore

If passed, it would be a landmark social media legislation against hate speech in Europe.

The legislation was proposed by Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas to "substantiate the existing obligation to remove hate crime and malicious fake news" by the operators of social media services.

However, organisations representing digital companies, consumers and journalists, accused the government of rushing a law to parliament that could damage free speech.

The companies would have 24 hours to remove any posts that openly violate German law after they are flagged by users.

Mr Maas said Twitter took down only 1 per cent, and Facebook 39 per cent, of the content reported by users that was deemed to flout Germany's anti-hate speech laws.

A spokesman for Facebook - which has 29 million active users in Germany, more than one-third of the total population - said the company was working hard to remove illegal content, but expressed concern at the draft law. "Therefore in future, if it doesn't get better, we will impose high fines on these companies", Maas told German broadcaster ARD's "Morgenmagazin" show. Critics have said the deadlines and fines are not reasonable and could see sites removing too much content, limiting free speech.

Ralph Lauren's Polo store on Fifth Avenue to close amid slumping sales
Ralph Lauren is shutting down its Fifth Avenue store in NY , but its flagship Polo Bar Restaurant at the same location will stay. The company will consolidate this location with the company's Ralph Lauren Men's and Women's flagship stores on Madison Avenue.

Other offensive content would have to be deleted within seven days after it is reported.

"This legislation would force private companies rather than the courts to become the judges of what is illegal in Germany", he said, adding that Facebook's partner Arvato would employ up to 700 staff in Berlin for "content moderation" by year's end.

Maas said today the cabinet backing for the draft law paves the way for it to be adopted in Germany within the current legislative period.

The bill provoked a wave of criticism from opposition politicians, media companies and various network activists.

Twitter says it has introduced a raft of new measures to improve the situation, most recently announcing plans to "leverage its technology" to automatically spot accounts engaging in abusive behavior and limiting their functionality. He said the new bill would not restrict the freedom of expression, but intervene only when criminal hatred or intentionally false news are posted. "Even repulsive and ugly utterances - even lies can be covered by freedom of expression", he said.

Recommended News

  • Why a tiny, fanged fish produces a pain-free bite

    Why a tiny, fanged fish produces a pain-free bite

    However, this is the first time they have noted bigger fish closing their mouths around blennies and spitting them right back out. Study co-author Bryan Fry surmises that this combination "can produce sensations of extremely unpleasant nausea and dizziness".
    UK Plans to Convert EU Laws Into Domestic Law Post-Brexit

    UK Plans to Convert EU Laws Into Domestic Law Post-Brexit

    But he also said the European Union will not punish the U.K.in the exit talks, and that the so-called Brexit is punitive enough. But for now European Union nationals - majority from eastern and southern Europe - do not know if they can stay.

    Two people killed in Louisiana mobile home hit by possible tornado

    The chance is pretty low and depends on other factors coming together, like warmer temperatures and breaks for sunshine. There is a possibility of storms moving across the same areas creating pockets of higher totals through Monday .
  • Another Video Game Movie Is On The Way

    Another Video Game Movie Is On The Way

    No director is attached to the project yet and the producers are still looking for writers. "Our commitment", said DJ2's Dmitri M. It hasn't even released yet, and there is already a film adaptation of video game We Happy Few in development.

    Trump says he expects a health care deal soon

    Phil Roe, the author of one of the first replacement plans, said next steps were all about brokering a more solid deal. The 180-degree turn was the latest twist in the long-running fight over health care policy.

    US stock indexes wavering between small gains and losses

    Dow Jones Industrial Average surged almost 70 points, aided by Goldman Sachs & United Health contributing the most to the gains. The health care information technology company slid 2.7 per cent after it reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue.
  • Will.i.am's Michelle John voted off The Voice UK

    Will.i.am's Michelle John voted off The Voice UK

    Jennifer Hudson's first act of the night Jamie took to the stage, taking on Ed Sheeran's Shape Of You. GAVIN Rossdale has yet to have bosses confirm whether he can return to The Voice next year.
    South Korea expects no issues with Pyongyang games

    South Korea expects no issues with Pyongyang games

    When pressed about whether he could do it one-on-one without China's help, the president said, "I don't have to say any more". The duo called for the U.S. to "preempt North Korea by any means necessary" - including the possibility of a nuclear strike.

    London attack inquiry focuses on radicalization of perpetrator

    Police also issued a statement from the family of police officer Keith Palmer, one of the four people killed in the attack. Police said Masood, 52, who had previous criminal convictions but none for terrorism, had used a number of aliases.
  • Iran Aseman signs contract with Boeing to buy 60 planes

    Iran Aseman signs contract with Boeing to buy 60 planes

    Boeing said it had received permission from the U.S. government to negotiate the sale, though it still needs signoff from the U.S. Iranian conservatives have also criticized the purchases, saying new planes will do little to improve Iran's stagnant economy.

    Panera reaches new All-time High on possible sale

    On a one to five ratings scale where 1.0 indicates a Strong Buy, 2.0 indicates a Buy, 3.0 a Hold, 4.0 a Sell and 5.0 a Stong Sell. The company reported $2.05 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters' consensus estimate of $2.00 by $0.05.
    Rising Flood Waters Displace Tens of Thousands in Australia

    Rising Flood Waters Displace Tens of Thousands in Australia

    Ergon Energy said about 37,000 customers were still without power in the region. Authorities have ordered over 20,000 people to evacuate their homes.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.