(TechCrunch) A new law has come into force in Germany aimed at regulating social media platforms to ensure they remove hate speech within set periods of receiving complaints — within 24 hours in straightforward cases or within seven days where evaluation of content is more difficult.
The name of the law translates to ‘Enforcement on Social Networks’. It’s also referred to as NetzDG, an abbreviation of its full German name.
Fines of up to €50 million can be applied under the law if social media platforms fail to comply, though as Spiegal Online reports there is a transition period for companies to gear up for compliance — which will end on January 1, 2018. However the Ministry in charge has started inspections this month.
Social platform giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were couched as the initial targets for the law, but Spiegal Online suggests the government is looking to apply the law more widely — including to content on networks such as Reddit, Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, VK and Gab.
The usage bar for complying with the takedown timeframes is being set at a service having more than two million registered users in Germany.
While Spiegal Online reports that the German government is intending to have 50 people assigned to the task of implementing and policing the law.
It also says all social media platforms, regardless of size, must provide a contact person in Germany for user complaints or requests for information from investigators. Recent queries will need to be answered within 48 hours or risk penalties, it adds.
One obvious question here is how any fines could be applied across international borders if a social media firm has no bricks-and-mortar presence in Germany, though.