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Germany wants huge fines against Facebook for fake news, hate speech

Germany is planning a new law, which would hit Facebook Inc. with up to €500,000 in fines per fake news or hate speech that it fails to remove from its platform within 24 hours, The Irish Times reported Dec. 17, citing Der Spiegel.

The move comes as the German government reportedly grew impatient with Facebook's efforts to curb fake news and hate speech. Under the proposed legislation, victims can demand reparation equivalent to the reach of the original malicious post.

All big internet players operating in Germany will also be required to have a 24-hour local legal contact for victims of online fake news and hate speech, according to the report.

German justice minister Heiko Maas said freedom of speech does not include defamation and malicious gossip, and urged judges and state prosecutors to swiftly act on the matter, Reuters reported Dec. 18, citing Bild am Sonntag. Maas reportedly added that Facebook earns a lot from fake news, and is therefore socially responsible.

Facebook recently announced that it will seek help from third-party fact-checking groups to better warn users about misinformation on its platform.