In recent months, Facebook has found itself under increasing pressure around the world to step up efforts to remove hate speech, violent videos, terrorist content and more. The site even went so far as to hire 3,000 new employees to moderate content. However, public relations moves like that one weren’t enough to satisfy the German government, which recently proposed a bill that would fine Facebook $53 million if it did not remove offensive content quick enough.
However, Facebook pushed back against the legislation this week, claiming the law would give it and other social networks too much power over legal decisions. The social media giant said it could get around the fine by deleting content that was not illegal.
“The draft law provides an incentive to delete content that is not clearly illegal when social networks face such a disproportionate threat of fines,” a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget in a statement. “It would have the effect of transferring responsibility for complex legal decisions from public authorities to private companies.”
This statement is perfect proof that Facebook wants to have it both ways. It seeks enormous influence and power, but also doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with connecting a quarter of the world’s population. It wants to promote freedom of expression, but also tries to follow the speech laws of every country it operates in. In short, there’s no way Facebook can win this battle.