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Germany wants to fine social media sites €500,000 for each fake story published

Bradley Wint
Dec 19, 2016 11:30pm AST
Photo: Snopes

The war between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton brought to light amajor problem plaguing social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Fake news.

We’re not going to get into which websites publish news that is deemed to be false, but there are undeniably quite a number out there publishing content that is straight up make-believe stuff pulled from a top hat.

Let’s talk about what Germany wants to do and then we’ll get into a short discussion about ‘fake’ news.

German lawmakers are keen on cracking down on fake news and hate speech across social media platforms. Thomas Oppermann, Chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, wants to propose new and very stringent legislation to help crack down on these two burning social media issues.

They are proposing that sites like Facebook employ a team of cyber sleuths to actively delete news items that are considered fake and/or hate-filled within 24 hours or face a harsh fine of €500,000 (a little of US $520,400) per news item.

Of course this rule would only apply to German viewers.

This comes in the wake of the upcoming German federal elections being held next year.

Unfortunately for Facebook and other large social media sites, opposing Germany parties are also in favour of this proposal. While it’s not clear whether it would make the light of day, it definitely does raise a few questions.

For starters, how is a team going to deem what is fake or not? While some pieces of information make be plain black and white real or fake, there are other items that may be up for question, as they could never be proven right or wrong. A simple case of subjectivity came up when Trump and Clinton ran for the U.S. Elections.

Conservatives slammed sites light CNN, NBC, and HuffPost as outlets that publish fake information while liberals were quick to lash out at sites like Fox News, Breitbart, and Drudge Report for being full of lies.

So who is right and who is wrong? Are German officials truly out to target fake news posts, or do they want to censor citizens from viewing content not geared towards their political goals?

Do you see the problem now?

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