Germany thinking of fining Facebook for each fake news story

German coat of armsThe German government is thinking of slapping a huge fine on Facebook for each fake news story it publishes.

For those who came in late, fake news is the latest thing.  It is news which is sometimes called “satire” in the US by people who don’t know what satire is.  It is normaly conspiracy laden rubbish which no sane person would believe and is tailored to repeat things that people want to believe. It was considered a factor in the election of  the Russian-backed Donald (prince of Orange) Trump in the US.

Germany is worried. Particularly as it fears that the Far-Right in its country will use fake news to stir up trouble about immigrants.  After all they have a long history of doing just that. According to the article, “Lawmakers in the country are reportedly hoping it will prevent Russia from interfering in Germany’s elections next year.”

The government of Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a ‘fake news’ story up without deleting it.

Germany’s parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party Thomas Oppermann said in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that the law would reportedly apply to other social networks too.

“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros.”

Under the law, “official and private complainants” would be able to flag news on Facebook as fake. Facebook and other affected social networks would have to create “in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands,” the report says. The bill, slated for consideration next year, is said to have bipartisan support.