Fines to Fight Cyberbullying

For as long as social media sites have been popular, the topic of bullying has been a major concern. Due to the substantial amount of time today’s youth spends on the Internet, children are being bullied far more often than in the past. A study from the Pew Research Center found that about 92 percent of teens are online everyday (“Social Media Bullying Has Become a Serious Problem”). The most common type of website they are frequenting is social media (“Social Media Bullying Has Become a Serious Problem”). Due to this increasing use of social media, cyberbullying has become an epidemic that social media sites are struggling to contain. However, Germany recently proposed a new plan to fight it.

Germany has decided to up the ante in their crusade against social media hate posts by making them damaging to, not only the users being targeted, but also the sites they occur on. Their government wants to increase the pressure on social networks by fining them if they fail to remove hateful posts or libel. This includes negative comments on photos, negative posts on users’ profiles, posts attempting to embarrass other users, social media stalking, and posting from users’ accounts other than one’s own. Their justice minister, Heiko Maas, stated that, “Facebook and Twitter have not used the opportunity to improve their deletion practices. Too few punishable comments are deleted. And they are not erased quickly enough. The biggest problem is that the networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough,” (Woollacott).

Even though social networking sites have been attempting to combat instances of cyberbullying for years, their efforts have not been very effective. In fact, it has been reported that many social media sites’ records of attempting to remove hateful content in a timely manner have actually gotten worse (Woollacott). Perhaps a plan such as Germany’s will finally put enough added pressure on the sites themselves to actually make a difference.

Works Cited

“Social Media Bullying Has Become a Serious Problem.” N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web.

Woollacott, Emma. “Germany Proposes Massive Fines For Social Media Hate Posts.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Mar. 2017. Web.

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