German politicians are taking a hard line with Facebook on "fake news," threatening yesterday to level high fines on the social media company if defamation is not removed from the service.
"We of course also have to consider fines if other measures are not effective," German Justice Minister Heiko Maas was quoted as saying by the Sueddeutsche daily.
"Insults, incitement and defamation have no place on Facebook," Maas said, adding that the financial threat would be a strong incentive for quick action.
Thomas Oppermann, leader of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in the German parliament, called for "market-leading platforms" such as Facebook to be legally required within Germany to set up a round-the-clock legal protection office, to which victims of hate and "fake news" could turn.
"If after taking the necessary checks Facebook doesn't promptly remove the offending message with 24 hours, then Facebook has to reckon with a severe fine of up to 500,000 euros (523,000 dollars)," Opperman was quoted in the weekly Spiegel as saying.
Further measures, according to Opperman, would be for Facebook to distribute at the request of the people effected "a correction with the same effective reach".