German government has passed a draft law recently that will require social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to delete hateful, fake or racist posts within a week of being posted. Failure to do so could land the companies in considerable trouble facing penalties of up to 50 million Euros. It is being speculated that the move is to thwart any surprises in public sentiments following any sort of anti-government posts on social media.
Justice minister Heiko Maas said in a statement, “There should be just as little tolerance for criminal rabble-rousing on social networks as on the street. It is clear that freedom of expression is of huge importance in our vibrant democracy. However, freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins.” He also said that Germany will push the law to be adopted in other EU countries as well.
A number of organisations condemned the law saying it would provoke content policing and stifle freedom of speech. Facebook released a statement that said, “This legislation would force private companies, rather than the courts, to become the judges of what is illegal in Germany.”