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Germany fines Facebook €2 million for violating its “hate speech” law

This is the first time a European country has fined an American social media company for violating its “hate speech” laws.
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Despite having one of the most stringent online “hate speech” policies, Facebook has been fined €2 million ($2.3 million) for violating Germany’s “hate speech” law.

Under this law, companies are required to publish a transparency report twice a year which provides details on how they are dealing with “hate speech.” The German Federal Office of Justice (BFJ) claims (Google Translate link) that the German language version of Facebook’s transparency report for the first half of 2018 (Google Translate link) is incomplete and gives the public a distorted image about the extent of suspected illegal content on Facebook. This suspected illegal content includes any materials that the BFJ believes is “designed to incite hatred.”

Additionally, the BFJ says that Facebook didn’t provide full information on the language skills and training of the staff who deal with “hate speech” complaints in this transparency report.

As a result, the BFJ has issued Facebook a €2 million fine. However, the BFJ notes that the amount has not been finalized and Facebook can appeal.

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According to Politico, this is the first time a European country has sanctioned an American social media giant for its lack of transparency when it comes to handling “hate speech.”

The nature of the fines is ironic considering that Facebook is continually updating its “hate speech” policies and using them to censor increasing amounts of content on the platform. Facebook also has over 30,000 workers dedicated to policing “hate speech.”

This Facebook fine is reflective of a larger pattern of unrealistic and unreasonable “hate speech” laws being rolled out across Europe. For example, France is pushing for a new law that will force social platforms to remove “hate speech” in 24 hours.

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