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Internet giants could be fined up to $12M under Austrian hate speech law

/ 10:22 PM September 03, 2020

FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

VIENNA — Austria plans to oblige large internet platforms like Facebook and Google to delete illegal content within days and impose fines of up to 10 million euros (8.91 million pounds) in case of non-compliance, the government said on Thursday.

Austria’s online hate speech law, now being drawn up, will target platforms with more than 100,000 users and annual revenues of more than 500,000 euros, Justice Minister Alma Zadic said. It will give victims of online insults and abuse the opportunity to fight back quickly at a low cost, she said.

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“The internet is not a lawless space. Our rule of law also applies to the internet,” the minister told a news conference. A new fast-track procedure, free of charge for the first three years, would enable victims to obtain a cease and desist order within days.

Platforms will be obliged to set up easily accessible reporting systems, appoint a contact person for users and report on the complaints received annually, according to the draft law. They will have to delete obviously criminal content within 24 hours of receiving a complaint and otherwise unlawful content within seven days.

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Facebook declined to comment on the new law.

TOPICS: Austria, Facebook, Google, hate speech law, internet giants
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