Skip to main content

German Justice Minister says his country must do more to fight fake news

facebook instant article subscription coming
Alaskla/123RF
Facebook has already announced its plan to combat fake news, but apparently, that’s not enough for Germany. In an interview published Sunday morning, Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas insisted that his country’s judges and state prosecutors ought to lay down the law on fake news spread via social media networks (like Facebook), and that it needed to happen immediately.

Maas has long pointed out that anti-defamation laws in Germany are more strict than those in the U.S., and as such, American tech companies must respect the laws of the land when operating in the European country. In an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Maas noted that free speech does not justify slander.

“Defamation and malicious gossip are not covered under freedom of speech,” Maas said, echoing calls from some of his German colleagues to tamp down on “hate speech” circulating throughout Facebook, Twitter, and other such platforms. This was just days after other top government officials called for legislation to tackle hate speech and fake news on social media platforms.

 “Justice authorities must prosecute that, even on the internet,” Maas added, “Anyone who tries to manipulate the political discussion with lies needs to be aware (of the consequences).” In Germany, those consequences could include up to five years in jail.

While Germany’s libel and slander laws are indeed far-reaching, few of the 218,000 cases filed in 2015 dealt with internet instances. But Maas says that ought to change. “We need to fully utilize all the legal authority at our disposal,” he said.

“Facebook is earning an awful lot of money with fake news,” Maas concluded. “A company that earns billions from the internet also has a social responsibility. Prosecutable defamation must be deleted immediately, once reported. It needs to be made easier for users to report fake news.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
How to go live on TikTok (and can you with under 1,000 followers?)
Tik Tok

It only takes a few steps to go live on TikTok and broadcast yourself to the world:

Touch the + button at the bottom of the screen.
Press the Live option under the record button.
Come up with a title for your live stream. 
Click Go Live to begin.

Read more
Bluesky barrels toward 1 million new sign-ups in a day
Bluesky social media app logo.

Social media app Bluesky has picked nearly a million new users just a day after exiting its invitation-only beta and opening to everyone.

In a post on its main rival -- X (formerly Twitter) -- Bluesky shared a chart showing a sudden boost in usage on the app, which can now be downloaded for free for iPhone and Android devices.

Read more
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
woman sitting and using laptop

Sometimes, whether you're chatting with friends or posting on social media, words just aren't enough -- you need a GIF to fully convey your feelings. If there's a moment from a YouTube video that you want to snip into a GIF, the good news is that you don't need complex software to so it. There are now a bunch of ways to make a GIF from a YouTube video right in your browser.

If you want to use desktop software like Photoshop to make a GIF, then you'll need to download the YouTube video first before you can start making a GIF. However, if you don't want to go through that bother then there are several ways you can make a GIF right in your browser, without the need to download anything. That's ideal if you're working with a low-specced laptop or on a phone, as all the processing to make the GIF is done in the cloud rather than on your machine. With these options you can make quick and fun GIFs from YouTube videos in just a few minutes.
Use GIFs.com for great customization
Step 1: Find the YouTube video that you want to turn into a GIF (perhaps a NASA archive?) and copy its URL.

Read more