"BERLIN — Social media companies operating in Germany face fines of as much as $57 million if they do not delete illegal, racist or slanderous comments and posts within 24 hours under a law passed on Friday.
The law reinforces Germany’s position as one of the most aggressive countries in the Western world at forcing companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to crack down on hate speech and other extremist messaging on their digital platforms.
But the new rules have also raised questions about freedom of expression. Digital and human rights groups, as well as the companies themselves, opposed the law on the grounds that it placed limits on individuals’ right to free expression...
The law will take effect in October, less than a month after nationwide elections, and will apply to social media sites with more than two million users in Germany.
It will require companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, which owns YouTube, to remove any content that is illegal in Germany — such as Nazi symbols or Holocaust denial — within 24 hours of it being brought to their attention...
Every six months, companies will have to publicly report the number of complaints they have received and how they have handled them."
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