Germany Threatens to Fine Facebook Over Hate Speech

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
December 16, 2016 Updated: December 16, 2016

BERLIN—Germany’s justice minister says the government is considering making Facebook liable for hate speech posted on the social network.

Heiko Maas told a German newspaper that unless the California-based company swiftly deletes posts that are illegal under German law “we may have to think about fines.”

In the interview published Friday by Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Maas said requiring social networks to publish the number of complaints they get and how they are handled “would increase the pressure on Facebook, Twitter.”

Fellow Social Democratic Party member Thomas Oppermann told weekly Der Spiegel that dominant social media sites like Facebook could be required to delete illegal posts within 24 hours or face fines up to 500,000 euros ($522,000).

Facebook has said it is working with German authorities to tackle hate speech.