Facebook has been fined EUR 2 million ($2.3 million) in Germany for failing to disclose adequate information on the illegal content shared on its platform, which stands in direct violation to the country’s internet transparency law.
In a press statement on Tuesday, Germany’s Federal Office of Justice said that the social media giant had violated the provisions of the country’s Network Enforcement Act also called the NetzDG while publishing the transparency report for the first half of 2018. “The number of complaints received about illegal content is incomplete. This creates a distorted picture in the public about the extent of illegal content and the way the social network deals with them,” the agency said.
The Germany law – NetzDG – requires the social media companies operating in the country to publish a transparency report every six months. The agency in a statement said that Facebook revealed only a fraction of complaints that it had received for illegal content on its platform in the transparency report that it published for the first half of 2018. The German agency has also accused the social media giant of giving inadequate information in regard with the steps taken by the company in response to the complaints filed on illegal content.
“The published transparency report is not complete with regard to the information on the organization, the linguistic competence of the employees and the training of the persons responsible for the handling of complaints,” the German agency added.
Facebook has responded to the fined imposed by Germany saying that it had complied with the transparency requirements of the German law and that some parts of the NetzDG lacked clarity. The social media giant also said that it would appeal the ruling after studying it.
“We want to remove hate speech as quickly and effectively as possible and work hard to do so,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters in response to the fine.
“We are confident our published NetzDG reports are in accordance with the law, but as many critics have pointed out, this law lacks clarity,” the spokesperson added.
Separately, Facebook has been under tight scrutiny by regulators all around the world every since the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit the news last year. While the UK imposed a fine of £500,000 on Facebook last year for failing to protect the user data, and Italy filed the company with $1.1 million for violating the local privacy law in regard with last year’s scandal, the social media giant is awaiting a verdict from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, which could a impose a fine between $3 billion and $5 billion for privacy violations.