German cabinet approves tough new cyber hate law

Germany cracks down on foreign child marriages

Germany cracks down on foreign child marriages

Germany's Cabinet has approved new rules to ensure that most marriages involving under-18s aren't legally recognized in the country.

German ministers have approved plans to fine social media firms up to 50m euros ($53.3m; £42.7m) if they fail to remove hate speech and fake news quickly.

"Our problem is that too few [pieces of] criminal content are deleted by the social networks", Maas said.

Online Chat: DJ Kachman, the Veterans Affairs Department's director of mobile and security technology transformation lead, on April 10, at 1 p.m.

In addition to fake news and hate speech, the draft bill would also target posts seen as inciting terrorism or spreading child pornography.

The draft bill will still have to be considered by the German parliament and other bodies before it becomes a law.

Bitkom, an association which represents digital companies, said the government should build up specialist teams to monitor online content for potential infringements, rather than expect social networks to do it themselves.

Angela Merkel's cabinet voted on the measures amid concerns over free speech, with campaigners, technology firms and journalists raising fears tightened regulations could restrict expression.

Mass cited research that claims Twitter removes just one percent of the illegal content flagged by users within 24 hours, while Facebook removes 39 percent.

The EU now has 28 Member States, including Germany, and in May a year ago its executive body, the European Commission, unveiled a code of conduct for handling hate speech on social platforms, securing agreement on this initiative from Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft. "We owe it to the victims of hate crimes to enforce this better". The law would make the websites responsible for removing [Reuters report] the illegal content and making regular reports to the German government on complaints filed.

The proposed law would apply only within German borders.

Mr Maas said freedom of expression was "of huge importance" in Germany, but that "freedom of expression ends where criminal law begins".

We've reached out to Facebook, Twitter and Google for comment and will update this story with any response. Merkel's coalition wants to adopt the law before the election, Maas said.

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