The Old German Nazis are back with a vengeance! A German Justice Minister has proposed fining social media sites up to $53 million for failing to remove alleged “hateful” posts or alleged “fake news” from their sites fast enough.
The Associated Press reports:
The plan proposed Tuesday marks a further step in Germany’s attempt to impose its strict domestic laws against incitement on the free-wheeling world of online chatter.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a member of the center-left Social Democratic Party, said social media companies had already taken voluntary steps to crack down on hate crimes that have resulted in improvements.
“This isn’t sufficient yet,” Maas said, citing research that he said showed Twitter deletes just 1 percent of illegal content flagged by users, while Facebook deletes 39 percent.
The proposal would require companies to provide a round-the-clock service for users to flag illegal content, which would have to be removed by the site within seven days. All copies of the content would also have to be deleted and social media companies would need to publish a quarterly report detailing how they have dealt with such material.
Sites would also have to nominate a person responsible for handling complaints, who could face fines of up to 5 million euros personally if the company fails to abide by mandatory standards.
Maas said the measures, which will become part of a bill to be put before Parliament, wouldn’t restrict freedom of speech that already exists in Germany and there were no plans to create a “truth commission” against so-called fake news.
Of course, this is meant to chill free speech. While I have issues with Facebook and their targeting of outlets and coming dangerously close to libeling many, including those I write for, they are not the ones responsible for the content. The user who make the post is. Posting satire or stupid commentary, or truth about things such as Islam are not unlawful, and should not be treated as a crime.
The truth is that the establishment, even in Germany is scared about the way the internet is bringing about their demise, and they are seeking to regain control of their power, which alternative media and independent journalists are stripping them of through print, audio and video.
To make matters worse, it would force these sites to be even more aggressive than they already are in their censorship. The New American reports:
Most chillingly, sites would be forced to “nominate” a person to field complaints; this individual could personally be fined in excess of $5 million if his employer doesn’t satisfy mandatory standards, according to the AP. What kind of masochist would want such a job remains to be seen, but one would imagine only the most handsome compensation could induce someone to assume such risk.
But the result of this is clear (and likely intended): Threatening companies with hefty fines — and an individual with financial destruction — will ensure they’ll delete any and every even borderline politically incorrect, migrant-oriented post. It could completely stifle social-media dissent.
This is just a way to coerce social media into presenting reality as do conventional media. The media willingly cooperate with the government, for example, by suppressing the truth about migrant crime. But people on social media won’t cooperate, so you have to suppress them.
Germany has long been heavy-handed in the stifling of politically incorrect dissent. In July, government officials actually “directed the police to carry-out a nationwide crackdown on allegedly racist or xenophobic posting on social media sites,” reported the Daily Wire last November.
Quoting the Wall Street Journal, the site continued, “In raids coordinated by the federal criminal police agency BKA, police across 14 states raided the homes of 60 people suspected of being behind the postings, which are illegal under German law.”
This followed a number of other such raids, including an April Berlin-area action resulting in nine arrests of people accused of posting “anti-migrant” views.
And social media companies got the message. Fox News reported this January that Facebook had already “hired a German technology company to monitor and delete content that is illegal in Germany and other European countries” and that “[s]ix hundred people, fluent in several languages, scan the site daily.”
This, again, brings social media more in line with their mainstream cousins. One of Germany’s largest media outlets, Der Spiegel, long ago “disabled its readers’ comment function for articles related to refugees,” reported the Washington Post January 2016.
And this is common, especially among European media. When such a website presents a notice to the effect of, “We are currently unable to accept comments on this article,” know it’s a lie. Capability has nothing to do with it — what they mean is they won’t accept feedback.
After all, posters can do the job reporters won’t do: tell the truth. And it’s not a good business model to have a comments section that exposes the article as propaganda.
Here’s what should be done. Some liberty-minded people should get together, construct a platform very similar to Facebook, and simply declare they are providing a platform to post and the user is the censor. Censor anything you don’t like, all you want, but don’t ask others to do your dirty work for you. If something is libelous or unlawful, those could be reported to those who administer justice or a civil suit could be filed. This way, there is no oversight of the platform by either those providing it nor government. Reports and lawsuits would only be issued by the users themselves.
It’s time everyone got over their little feelings being hurt and mature and put on a thicker skin than the one they have, especially the Germans.