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Sites That Don't Remove Hate Speech Will Get Big Fines In Germany

The government voted to fine social media companies over $5.7 million if they don't remove criminal content in 24 hours.
Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 30, 2017

Germany is cracking down on social media sites that don't take down hate speech.

German Parliament passed a law allowing the government to fine companies over $5.7 million if they don't remove "obviously" criminal content within 24 hours.

Several outlets have reported that, depending on the content and company response, fines can be increased to over $57 million.

Germany has been moving toward measures like this for a while. Last year, authorities there conducted a nationwide raid on people suspected of disseminating hateful and criminal content online.

It's not just Germany. France and the U.K. want to impose legal liability on sites they say create a "safe space" for extremist content.

Critics of Germany's legislation argue the time restrictions are impractical and that removing content could impede freedom of expression.

But Heiko Maas, a federal minister in Germany, disputed that and told the German Parliament "freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins."