Social media sites in Germany could face fines of $50 million for removing illegal content too slowly. Germany's government is cracking down on illegal online content, including hate speech, slander and fake news. The proposed new law would give Facebook, Twitter and other sites seven days to delete content flagged as illegal, or get a big financial penalty. Any content that was "clearly criminal" would have to be removed within 24 hours. Justice minister Heiko Maas said Twitter deletes only one per cent of the hate speech it is told about by users, and Facebook, 39 per cent.
Mr Maas said the fines were necessary due to increasing concern over the influence social media is having on public opinion. He said: "The biggest problem is that the social networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough." He said voluntary efforts to tackle the problem were not working as too few comments are being deleted, too slowly. Mr Maas said social media sites would have to set up a complaints team that functions 24/7. A digital trade organization feared the 24-hour deadline for sites that deal with over a billion posts per day was "utterly impossible".