In Germany, lawmakers take aim at fake news
December 14, 2016
The problem of fake news has been blamed for misinformation spread during the 2016 election in the United States.
Did it change the outcome of the vote? Who knows. It’s impossible to answer that question, but it’s certainly become a real concern, especially in the wake of the #pizzagate shooting.
Germany is desperate to avoid such problems in its upcoming election.
The Christian Democrats, Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Christian Social Union are all calling for laws to be passed that would bump up fines for anyone found to be publishing misinformation.
This would apply not just to the purveyors of fake news but to sites that run it, such as Facebook. Under proposals being considered, the social media site would have to take down false posts immediately or face the financial consequences.
The Russia fear
An SPD leader tweeted on Monday, “We @spdde want to join forces with the Christian Democrats against tools like manipulative ‘social bots’ and fight ‘fake news’ together!”
Fake news includes stories manufactured to draw in more clicks, generating quick ad revenue for publishers. These stories rarely have a grain of truth, and they carry outrageous headlines, such as “Clinton rigged the election,” designed to pique people’s interest.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Russia could use fake news to try to wield influence over next year’s elections. Russia is suspected of interfering in the recent U.S. election as well.
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