Germany Moves To Impose Crippling Fines On Social Networks For “Fake News”

I recently wrote about the growing threat of government regulation of speech on the Internet under the guise of combatting “fake news.” Germany has been ground zero for civil libertarians for the rollback of free speech. Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel long ago established herself as a menace to free speech, particularly in her decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Now, Germany is considering imposing a legal regime that would allow fining social networks such as Facebook up to 500,000 euros ($522,000) for each day the platform leaves a “fake news” story up without deleting it. Governments have finally found a vehicle to get citizens to allow them to curtail or chill speech — ironically in the name of facilitating “real news” or “truth.” It is perfectly Orwellian and Merkel’s latest contribution to the erosion of free speech in the West. I recently discussed the issue as part of an interesting segment with Ted Koppel.

Few companies will risk such crippling fines, resulting in self-censorship from the chilling effect of the law. The bill would require companies to flag “fake news” and impose civil liability on companies. Germany’s parliamentary chief of the Social Democrat party, Thomas Oppermann is quoted as saying “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.”

Other lawmakers are reportedly moving toward criminalizing anything the government deems to be “fake news.”

220px-BenFranklinDuplessisSo government officials will now be allowed to simply proclaim certain postings as untrue and either fine the networks or even criminally charge individuals — all in the name of protecting “the truth.” What is astonishing is that many in the public are supporting this rollback on the critical protection of free speech. The left appears to be leading this crusade for greater government censorship in both Europe and the United States. Fake news is simply proclaimed to be a threat to democracy and citizens support the limitation of free speech to protect “freedom”? It is precisely the moment described by Benjamin Franklin when he said “Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”

70 thoughts on “Germany Moves To Impose Crippling Fines On Social Networks For “Fake News””

  1. Fake UFO reports accompanied by bogus video can cause serious panic and the groups most notable for putting this shit up for profit know who they are.

    Massive UFO appearances recently over both Germany and Turkey were shown to be patently false and while genuine stories and videos are not unusual, the bogus junk needs to go, however that happens.

  2. First they came for the news anchor and I did not say anything or object because I was not a news anchor.
    Then they came for….. etc.
    Hiel Merkel!
    Or is it: Heil Merkel! ?

  3. The real question is can Merkel get away with it? Hopefully not because there are a lot of governments paying attention to this that hate even the psychophantic stenographer press, much less the rabble rousing masses and their infuriating comment sections. Germany has enough of a population vigilant to this sort of thing that it might well be harder than Merkel anticipates.

    Obama has done everything he and his beloved secret legal documents, the ones no one can challenge – not even their secrecy – because they are secret; ahem, everything he and they can to shut down perceived unfriendly sites, not to mention whistle blowers, and I suspect that is one of the few things he will provide assistance to Trump with. If Europe goes dark, we will follow that much faster instead of lead. But from the looks of things, we will get there either way. And anyone who thinks Trump will go for freedom of speech and net neutrality, or protections for whistle blowers, is dreaming. The only rifle salute Assange will get for putting Trump in the White House will be up against a wall. Poleeease prove me wrong!

  4. Should we refer to Angela Merkel as “The Gray Lady”? Especially if she will determine “All the News That’s Fit to Print”

  5. I will go along with this idea of “false news” being censored on one condition.

    I’m the person that will DECIDE…….Otherwise no deal. I can’t think of a person or country or anything the

    could hold this job except ME.

      1. Exactly his point. Everyone is the only one but no one is qualified according to everyone.

  6. KCF, Exactly. Here’s what’s EXPONENTIALLY more dangerous than fake news. It is the MSM burying the truth, the REAL news. Ironically, we are approaching the 1st anniversary of the mass rape of women by roving gangs of Muslim men in Frankfurt, last NY eve. That story was buried by the German govt. and complicit press. THAT is the problem.

    1. Nick – the press has been negligent in reporting the lack of convictions for those rapes as well.

    2. Nick, I was not aware of “wilding” in Frankfurt. I thought those episodes happened in Cologne and Stuttgart (my home town) which the MSM buried.

      1. Autumn, The mass rapes occurred in many cities. But, you are correct, Cologne was the epicenter. I had seen a report recently and it focused on the Frankfurt assaults, and that was in my mind. You are also correct, these mass sexual assaults by Muslims occurred in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund. Finally, how did I not know you were from Stuttgart? We have a good commenter from Germany who appears here once in awhile, named Riesling.

        1. Nick, Riesling rocks IMO – always insightful posts – I think she lives around Augsburg maybe? Yep, I grew up as a hybrid of a sorts – Dad and Mum taught at the military schools on base, but raised us in a small village outside of Stuttgart – so I am an American by birth, but very influenced by the German culture — it is very distressing for me personally to see the changes happening there. A friend was here several months ago and she told me that if she could control her teenage daughters – which of course is impossible – she’d have them wear burkas for protection. So, essentially within a matter of a few years women feel fear. That is not the country I grew up in!!

          1. Thanks, Autumn and Nick! BTW, I live near Frankfurt. The police there want to ban Northern African men from the old town and Main River harbor this NYE because of problems they caused last year. Saw this on the local TV news.

  7. Merkel never shed her East German Marxist training, which taught her much about fake news.

    According to the book, ‘The First Life of Angela M.’, written by two German journalists, in 1981, when she was in her late twenties, she became a member of the FDJ ( Free German Youth) district board and secretary for “Agitprop” (Agitation and Propaganda), responsible for promoting Communist ideology.

  8. Here we see Angela Merkel leading the effort to destroy “fake news”…

    And, this comment constitutes fake news so you can forget about fining me, Frau Merkel. And, check the extradition treaty between our nations before you initiate any Lèse-majesté prosecution.

  9. Of course Angela is not Adolf, just a slightly different sort of “metaphorical Nazi.”

  10. Chilling.
    “Totalitarianism refers to a political system in which all authority is in the hands of the state. In a totalitarian society, all control of public and private life are government run.”-dictionary.

  11. The problem is not “fake news”, but that some people, including government officials actually believe that they have the truth and any suggested opposition is “fake”.

    “Humans seek truth, but never know if they have found it. Some are convinced they have found it, but that is as likely as not to be an illusion.”–Albert Einstein and others

  12. One of the explanations given for the using the word ‘happiness’ in our founding documents covered such areas as boom boxes on wheels and shouting fire in a crowded theater. Back before the current government gave up the notions of rights and morals as necessary to individual freedom it used to be either good manners or a law to be enforced. Fake News fit’s that category perfectly. But then when you replace freedom and liberty with membership in a collective joke it’s the end result. One of the benefits of voting against the Regressives from top to bottom – draining the slime and refocusing on the disease of Regressivism. My how they squirm and slither. on their way out. 22 days and a wake up!

  13. You’ll never hear Obama criticize this, despite the fact that Germany is a vassal state of the American Empire.And we really dodged the bullet, Hillary at least once said that Merkel was her role model.

    1. Dodged one bullet only to step in the line of fire of another. Not so sure the one that hit us won’t cause any more injury than the one you say we dodged. Rather, I think it very likely the Trump bullet very likely will do more damage.

      1. Maybe. Maybe not. Why don’t we just wait and see? Perhaps give the guy a chance? FFS.

      2. Still questionable, but looking worse, not better, as choices are made to fill top level positions. I sort of agree that it still comes down to: with Hillary we could look forward to extinction by nuclear war where as with Trump it will be anthropogenic extinction, but I admit it’s starting to look like a very bumpy ride in the short term as well.

        Hillary was no great champion of GW measures either since they do indeed get in the way of profits by her owners on WS, but that is somewhat beside the point.

        The point was to let the DNC and the establishment know that lines can be drawn beyond which many simply won’t go. Permanent war and insane reckless empire expansion among them. The “lessor of evils” Trojan Horse strategy has moved the Overton Window simply too far to the right to accept that “the fu*king retards have no place else to go”, even if the alternative at a given point in time is indeed worse.

        Will it work? Who knows? They (establishment) are pretty sophisticated and we are pretty much the opposite. At present It’s safe to say there are two camps trying to resuscitate a dead horse (the Democrat party – lost too much respect to call it the “Democratic” party). One camp led by Sanders wants to sell the product as undergoing real change (really, really really, and Truly this time – promise! – love you, the check is in the mail, I’ll sleep on the wet spot). The other camp, à la Pelosi, is even more in la-la land saying everything’s fine and nothing needs to change. Bernie sold out any claim to meaningful honesty* when he so shamelessly endorsed Clinton beyond any requirement of his original promise.

        So, many outside either camp are saying the party is moribund. Let it go. I agree. We need something else.

        * I suspect Bernie is honest when he claims the party is undergoing real change, but it’s political honesty. He’ll sell out everyone and anyone at the drop of a hat to live another day and perhaps it’s too convenient for him to realize that’s going to define his tenure in politics. We have moved so far right since he started that what ever his motivations in compromise, the results are pure sell-out.

    2. You’ll never hear Obama criticize this, despite the fact that Germany is a vassal state of the American Empire.

      The terms ‘vassal state’ and ‘Empire’ do not mean what you fancy they mean.

      1. Rhetorical mush. If you want to make that claim,

        1) State what the terms do mean

        2) If not clear by your definition, explain the discrepancy between the erroneous vernacular and your idea of the canonical

        3) Provide support for your assertion

        1. you can start out with vernacular and canonical (cause I know it’s coming) 🙂

  14. You have to be around Germans to understand just how priggish and sanctimonious they can be.

    Spend some time in Germany and you understand that Germans not only tolerate, but demand a central authority that controls socially unacceptable behavior (living in Frankfurt, I was warned about taking showers after 10PM – apparently that is against the law there).

    This is just another social intrusion that Germans demand.

    1. chiguy, Good point. The French lead the way in European sanctimony, but Germans are number 2 in the batting order.

    2. Well, maybe you can’t shower after 10 PM because you live in a densely populated apartment complex and might disturb your neighbors, or there is an imposed “quiet time” on Saturdays, or you can’t wash your car on Sundays, or stores are not open 24/7, etc.

      BUT there are other freedoms that don’t exist in the US of A: you COULD walk around at all hours safely, sunbathe topless in the park, go the local sauna / lake in the nude and legally retain the “services” of a rent boy/girl.

      I don’t mind the rules that try to ensure a decent living environment – I am annoyed at Americans who move to Germany and try to impose their own hypocritical values on other cultures. There are always problems with “social planning” but I have to say that I felt a hell of a lot freer as a woman in Deutschland than I ever did in the US.

      Unfortunately that has changed thanks to Mama Merkel and the globalists who are intent on tearing up the country with the influx of “refugees”, And I fear the Germans have given up the good fight.

      My friends, like many in the US are divided: either 100% pro Merkel and immigrants or 100% they ALL need to go.

      It will be interesting to see what happens.

      1. Autumn: spot on! I would add enjoying a beer or glass of wine outside a pub or on a park bench along the Rhine without getting arrested for “open container”.

    3. The German people certainly are not demanding this. Ms. Merkel wants to draw attention away from her failed migrants policy.

  15. Oh great, the German government, the one with historical ties to the infamous Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl is now in charge to decide what qualifies as real news?
    Oh dear.

    1. Roscoe Coltrane – there is nothing that Leni Reifenstahl did that could be considered false. The war crimes tribunals looked at her very hard but could find nothing. She just was a brilliant filmmaker.

  16. Another German website has a story about Merkel having sex with a pig while she was in college. Her nickname was Pigela. You heard it here. Now. If this blog is posted in Germany will the Turley blog get fined. Really only Angela or the pig can affirm or deny the allegation of the so called Fake News. There is a pig coming to a theatre near you.

    1. You seem to think you are amusing. You’re not. At all.
      Wish we could block trolls on this blog. FFS.

      1. They do block trolls on this blog. I am amusing. But truth be had Piglela would have been outted many years ago and not been elected. Websites need to fight back against censoring nation states.
        Or our own state.

      2. I think Jack Ruby is more than just amusing, he is making a point.
        Such laws have the propensity to shut down just about any website, or make any of them as milquetoast as the Hallmark website.
        I presume this would also mean that all the shlog newspapers like the Star, Enquirer, World Daily news, etc. will not be able to have websites, since that is a majority of what they publish.
        It might even empower print news to make a comeback, since the law doesn’t seem to apply to hard copy media.

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