In an interview with Der Spiegel, Germany’s Parliamentary Chief of the Social Democratic Party, Thomas Oppermann, has hinted at a proposed legislation meant to combat harms from false news. Official and private complainants will flag content that is considered “fake news” and if after the relevant checks the platforms hosting the ‘fake news’; do not, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then they must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 Euros.
The law would also force the platform parent companies to create in-country offices focused on responding to takedown demands and would make these networks responsible for compensation if a post by individual users were found to slander someone.
This proposal sets in motion the question of authority as to who gets to define what truth is in a flux social ecosystem and further, intermediary liability as this relates to the ‘‘fake’’ filters platforms have to run on content posted on their platforms with financial charges tagged to this. This opens censorship contests not just in Germany but across the world.
This will be an interesting discussion to track in 2017.