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Markus Schreiber / AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vocalized support for legislation that, if passed, would fine content distributors like Facebook and Twitter up to $53 million if they failed to quickly remove hate speech and fake news from their platforms. The measure has been approved by Merkel's cabinet, increasing the likelihood it gets approved by the German Parliament, per The Washington Post.

Why it matters: The bill is facing blowback by those who feel it impedes on free speech. Facebook, which is a lead target of the bill, said it's been actively taking steps to weed out fake news from its network and is "determined to work with others to solve this problem."

Timing: Merkel's support of the crackdown comes amid mounting concern about the political influence fake news and hate speech could have on Germany's federal election in September, where Merkel is squaring off against a strong populist and anti-immigration movement.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

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