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Germany’s New Social Media Law

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The Bundestag has passed a law that can fine social media companies up to €50m if they do not immediately remove hate speech.#

Editor’s Remarks: The German parliament’s new law puts the onus of eradicating hate speech and fake news directly onto social networks such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Germany’s defamation laws are notoriously tough, including prison sentences for Holocaust denial and racial hatred, and the new legislation gives social media companies 24 hours to remove obviously defamatory posts after receiving a notification or complaint. There are worries that freedom of speech will suffer if social media companies delete posts too eagerly to avoid possible fines and the right-wing Alternative fur Deutschland party has said it will challenge the law in Germany’s high court. But German politicians are worried that fake news and racial hatred over migrants could influence public opinion ahead of September’s general elections, and it looks like they do not want to take any chances.

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