With a general election looming next year, a range of German politicians are growing increasingly concerned over what they see as the spread of “fake news” and are considering forcing Facebook to delete posts they deem unacceptable, according to German media.
The vice-chairman of the SPD parliamentary party, Thomas Opperman, told German media outlet Funke Medien-gruppe that the German government would seek to hold Facebook accountable for any spread of misinformation, which could go as far as forcing them to delete posts.
Opperman added that this would include things such as “made-up news reports, conspiracy theories, hate and rabble-rousing.”
The idea also received endorsement from other prominent politicians, with Christian Democratic Union MP Patrick Sensburg telling German media that “targeted disinformation with the goal to destabilize a state should be punished.”
This was also echoed by SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, who wrote in a tweet on Monday his desire to see his party “join forces with the Christian Democrats against tools like manipulative ‘social bots’ and fight ‘fake news’ together!”
Talk of censoring content on social media has become increasingly commonplace in Germany following the influx of mass migration from Islamic countries. In January of this year, it was revealed that Angela Merkel had asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to take action against those criticising her unpopular migrant policy.
Merkel has also floated the possibility of the idea that fake news could influence the German election next year, as well as claiming Russia could initiate cyber attacks.
“Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls – things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them,” she said.