Germany mulls fining Facebook over hate speech

12Germany’s Justice Minister thinks that the social notworking site Facebook should be treated like a media company rather than a technology platform.

This slight change in definition would mean that it would be criminally liable for failing to remove hate speech.

German authorities are monitoring how many racist posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to take legislative measures if the results are not up to snuff.

Maas has said the European Union needs to decide whether platform companies should be treated like radio or television stations, which can be held accountable for the content they publish.

“In my view, they should be treated as media even if they do not correspond to the media concept of television or radio,” he said following a meeting of state justice ministers in Berlin.

Under current EU guidelines Facebook and other social media networks are not liable for any criminal content or hate posts hosted on their platform.

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter signed the EU hate speech code, vowing to fight racism and xenophobia by reviewing most hate speech notifications within 24 hours. But the code is voluntary.