Germany mulls crackdown on social media speech

In the name of combating harms from false reports as well as injury to reputation, the government of Germany is considering imposing a tough legal regime on Facebook and other social media sites. Next year it “will take up a bill that’d let it fine social networks like Facebook $500,000 [per post] for each day they leave a ‘fake news’ post up without deleting it.” Both official and private complainants could finger offending material. The new law would also require social networks to create in-country offices charged with rapid response to takedown demands, and would make the networks responsible for compensation when posts by their individual users were found to have defamed someone. [David Meyer Lindenberg, Fault Lines; Parmy Olson, Forbes]

P.S. If not closely, then at least distantly related: “Ridiculous German Court Ruling Means Linking Online Is Now A Liability” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]


  • I’ve visited Germany many times. The Germans are very sensitive to the awful legacy of their Nazi and Communist past. Yet stories like this make me think that they have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

  • Sometimes I wonder if they intentionally pass dumb laws just to force large American companies like Facebook and Google out, in the hopes that a local company can fill the gap.

  • What really bothers them is that each time the “Syrian” “refugees” commit another rape or act of terror, and the government either suppresses the story entirely or just hides the fact that Muslims did it, German citizens find out on social media anyway.

    I’m sure in my mind that Angela Merkel intends to cheat in the upcoming election rather than allow one of the anti-immigration parties to win, and this is one of the ways she will cheat. She won’t be the only leader in Europe doing it, either.