With Facebook having announced last week the launch of measure to flag and eliminate fake news from appearing on its website, Germany does not think the process is fast enough, and according to Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas, German judges and state prosecutors need to crack down straight away on fake news disseminated through social media platforms such as Facebook. Interviewed by Bild am Sontag, Maas, a Social Democrat in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition, has repeatedly warned the U.S. technology company to respect laws against defamation in Germany that are more rigid than in the United States and added that the newspaper the principle of free speech does not protect against slander.
“Defamation and malicious gossip are not covered under freedom of speech,” Maas said cited by Reuters, just days after other top government officials called for legislation to tackle “hate speech” and fake news on Facebook and other social media platforms. He added that the government is keeping close tabs on how efficiently Facebook removes illegal content. If removal rates fail to grow, “urgent legal consequences” could follow.Urging a criminal crackdown, the Justice Minister said “authorities must prosecute [hate speech], even on the internet,” noting that offenders could face up to five years in jail. “Anyone who tries to manipulate the political discussion with lies needs to be aware (of the consequences).”
“We expect significant improvements in Facebook’s removal practice. The standard for removals must be German law,” Maas told Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Friday. Continue reading »
Heiko Maas, the German Minister of Justice, was unable to finish his Labor Day celebration speech on the 1st of May as he was loudly booed and chased off the stage by the German people. The people repeatedly shouted “traitor”, “leftist rat”, “get out!”, “we are the people” and “Maas must go!”, eventually getting him to cancel his speech and flee to his armored Mercedes escorted by his armed bodyguards.
Maas is considered one of the biggest proponents of expanding censorship laws, demanding persecution, fines and jail-time for everybody posting “hate speech” on social media. Recently his party suffered a devastating loss in polls across the country, losing to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) by a landslide in the last state election of Saxony, where he held his speech. Continue reading »