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Leonid Bershidsky

Germany Calls Facebook's Bluff

Eventually social networks will have to accept regulation as media companies.
More than just a platform.

More than just a platform.

Photographer: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly everyone has criticism for German Justice Minister Heiko Maas' proposal to impose fines on social networks and their workers for failure to delete hateful content. Internet freedom advocates hate it for imposing censorship. The European Union is concerned for the same reason and the German union of judges and prosecutors criticize it for not going far enough because the posters of hate-speech themselves escape punishment.

There is room to debate how effective or useful such measures are or where the line should be drawn for free-speech purposes. But the most specious criticism of all comes from the social media giants themselves.