Facebook faces fines over 'fake news' epidemic

  • 08/01/2017
A tablet with a news website showing (Getty)
Germany's move has support from the wider European Union

Germany is considering slapping massive fines on social media sites like Facebook if they don't remove 'fake news'.

"Market dominating platforms like Facebook will be legally required to build a legal protection office in Germany that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary chairman Thomas Oppermann told German newspaper Der Spiegel.

"If, after appropriate examination, Facebook does not delete the offending message within 24 hours, it should expect individual fines of up to €500,000."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's party the Christian Democratic Union backs the idea.

"There has been only talk for too long," senior member Volker Kauder said on Friday. "Now we in the coalition will take action."

Facebook recently announced plans to combat the fake news epidemic, which some have linked to pro-Donald Trump sites like Breitbart and the Russian government-controlled RT.

In December Facebook started working with fact-checking groups like Politifact and Snopes to weed out nonsense like 'Pizzagate' - a conspiracy theory which claims Hillary Clinton ran a paedophile ring out of a pizza restaurant in Washington DC.

"If the fact-checking organisations identify a story as fake, it will get flagged as disputed and there will be a link to the corresponding article explaining why," said Facebook's News Feed vice-president Adam Mosseri.

Germany's move has support from the wider European Union, with European Parliament President Martin Schulz saying the law should apply across the continent.

Fake news should become expensive for companies like Facebook if they don't stop its spread," he told German media.

Newshub.

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