Germany advances measure to combat fake news

Germany advances measure to combat fake news
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday reportedly approved a measure intended to help curb the presence of fake news on social media.

The bill would force social media companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, to promptly remove content from their websites deemed hate speech or fake news, or face fines of up to 50 million euros — about $53 million. 

The measure still needs to be approved by Germany's Parliament, but the Cabinet's nod of support bodes well for its passage.

The bill is a response to the onslaught of "fake news" that emerged during the United States 2016 presidential election. Germany is facing its own set of elections this year.

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While Facebook has announced some efforts to combat the spread of fake news, such as labeling news content linked to questionable websites or known-purveyors of fake news, German lawmakers say social media companies have not acted quickly enough to stymie the flow of hate speech and false information, according to The Washington Post.

“The providers of social networks are responsible when their platforms are misused to spread hate crime or illegal false news,” German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. 

Mass also said that there would need to be similar laws implemented across the European Union for the crackdown to truly work.