Germany is enforcing a law called NetzDG, which demands social media sites to quickly remove illegal material, fake news and hate speech.
If “insulting posts” are not removed within 24 hours of being posted, social media sites could face fines of up to £44.3million.
The law’s main focus is on the social media sites YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, although it is also likely to be applied to Tumblr and Reddit.
For the sites to prepare themselves for the arrival of NetzDG, they were given until the end of 2017 to make sure content can be easily removed and quickly reported to staff.
‘The legal community are skeptical’
Felix Hilgert, a senior associate at German law firm Osborne Clarke, said to Digiday: “More time would have made it more balanced, because of the speed in which it’s been rushed through. Most in the legal community are skeptical.
“The first draft of the NetzDG called for social networks to not only delete illegal content, but make sure it hasn’t been posted by anyone else, which would have been at odds with the existing law.
“The NetzDG also applies to networks with more than 2 million registered users in Germany, which is too low and betrays a misunderstanding of how the online world works.”
Written by Leah Alger