Germany’s new law has Facebook facing the “naughty corner”

No more hate speech

Germany has a new controversial law, forcing Facebook, Twitter, and other social media companies to pay fines up to €50 million ($57 million) for failing to remove hate speech. The law was passed on Friday and will take effect in October of 2017.

The law describes an action or strategy needs to implemented by social networks in order to take down every  “obviously illegal” content uploaded by their users within 24 hours. The “obviously illegal” content consists of hate speech, defamation, and incitements to violence.


The pressure does not only focus on hate speech, but also on fake news, and terrorist propaganda from European Union leaders. In the past few months, Facebook and Google have launched campaigns to fight fake news and hate speech. More specifically, Facebook is ready to hire 3,000 more people in order to moderate flagged content more effectively.


Defining concepts like hate speech is really difficult and subjective. As Richard Allan from Facebook mentioned:

“Who should decide what is hate speech in an online global community?”

“People come to Facebook to share their experiences and opinions, and topics like gender, nationality, ethnicity and other personal characteristics are often a part of that discussion. People might disagree about the wisdom of a country’s foreign policy or the morality of certain religious teachings, and we want them to be able to debate those issues on Facebook. But when does something cross the line into hate speech?”

That’s a really interesting question. Any thoughts?

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