As AP reports, the measure approved is designed to enforce the country's existing limits on speech, including the long-standing ban on Holocaust denial. Among other things, it would fine social networking sites if they persistently fail to remove illegal content within a week, including defamatory "fake news."
"Freedom of speech ends where the criminal law begins," said Justice Minister Heiko Maas, who was the driving force behind the bill.
Under the law, social media companies would face steep fines for failing to remove "obviously illegal" content — including hate speech, defamation, and incitements to violence — within 24 hours. They would face an initial fine of €5 million, which could rise to €50 million. Web companies would have up to one week to decide on cases that are less clear cut.