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Germany fines Facebook at 2 million euros for breach of online transparency law

Germany fined Facebook 2 million euros for not reporting allegations of illegal content on its platform, violating local law on transparency on the internet.

In a statement released on Tuesday (2), Germany’s Federal Justice Department said the social network failed to deal with hate speech complaints on its platform.

Facebook says it has fulfilled its obligations of transparency, adding that some aspects of the law “lack clarity.” The company said it reserved the right to appeal the decision after studying it.

Under the German network transparency law, social media platforms must report the number of illegal content complaints received. In 2018, Facebook said it had received 1,048 complaints related to illegal content on its platform in the second half of the year, according to its transparency report.

Transparency reports from other social networks, such as Twitter and YouTube, have reported more than 250,000 complaints throughout the year. The charge that Facebook did not report all the complaints it received could undermine its efforts to improve its reputation.

Faced with the global repercussions on the platform’s role in campaigning in countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and even the Philippines, Facebook has launched a public relations campaign to improve its image.

“We want to remove hate speech as quickly and efficiently as possible, and work hard for it,” a Facebook spokesman said in response to the fine.

“We are confident that our published reports are in accordance with the law, but, as many critics have pointed out, this law lacks clarity.”

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