Germany is now contemplating charging social media websites up to 500,000 euros, or $522,000, for every “fake news” story left up on the site for over 24 hours.
“If after the relevant checks Facebook does not immediately, within 24 hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe penalties of up to 500,000 euros,” Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary chief of the Germany’s Social Democrat Party told Der Spiegel recently.
The legislation, expected to be introduced next year, would also call for Facebook to give money to individuals negatively affected by a fake news story.
“Facebook is earning an awful lot of money with fake news,” a German official told Bild am Sonntag.
The push to crack down on so-called “fake news” is seemingly motivated by fears of Russian interference in upcoming German elections. German officials reportedly fear Russia will use fabricated stories to influence the 2017 election.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is up for re-election for her fourth term, and is facing backlash for her decision to let over one million refugees come to Germany in 2015. That decision is receiving renewed criticism after reports surfaced that the suspect in the Berlin terror attack came to Germany as a refugee.