The moral panic around “fake news” is reaching critical heights. Not only is it the single main reason an amazing candidate like Hillary Clinton lost the election, but now it may completely bankrupt Facebook!
Yep, the free speech regressives at Germany’s Social Democrat Party are proposing to fine Facebook and other platforms 500,000 euros ($519,000) for every “fake news” article they fail to remove from their sites within 24 hours.
The proposal comes in preparation for a 2017 parliamentary election in Germany. German politicians fear their electoral process will be hampered by the spread of fake news.
Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the party, told Der Spiegel that the government would not act as “opinion police” but instead form a “truth commission,” which would also target “hate speech” on Facebook.
With the massive number of articles shared on Facebook, this massive per article fine is patently ridiculous and could rack up into the billions unless Facebook has a literal army of fact checkers vetting news around the clock.
Facebook has already come out with a plan to police fake news by getting fact checkers to vet then label fake articles as untrustworthy. But apparently German politicians want these articles removed entirely.
The fake news scare of 2016 fits perfectly with other historical examples of moral panic. First the media finds a small group of people doing something antisocial or harmful. Then the media blows this harmful behavior way out of proportion and demands the government respond. Then the government’s response causes many more problems and difficulties than the original issue.
Just look at the War on Drugs, Bill Clinton’s disastrous crime bill, and scares about things as harmless as Dungeons & Dragons.
Chill out media, people lie on the internet. Get over it.