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Facebook 'should help pay for illegal parties'

The Local · 10 Aug 2012, 10:02

Published: 10 Aug 2012 10:02 GMT+02:00

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The ministers also think the social networks should be made more liable for other illegal activities that are facilitated by their platforms - such as slander, cyber-bullying, and incitement to violence, Bild newspaper reported on Friday.

"A commercial internet platform that makes something like this possible also carries a large measure of responsibility," Reinhold Gall, interior minister of the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg, told the Südwest Presse newspaper.

"Facebook does not meet its responsibilities to protect its users, if the only difference between an invitation to friends and the whole world is just one mouse-click," Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann chimed in. "Facebook has a duty to protect its users and the public with appropriate warnings and preventative measures."

Gall stressed that internet users would not be let off the hook. "If, despite a ban, such parties take place anyway, and they are accompanied by vandalism, breaches of the peace, and ignoring dismissals, we will not limit any responsibility," he said. "Crimes and public order offences will be prosecuted hard."

Some mass parties have resulted from mistakes when hosts did not realise their invitations had reached the entire network, rather than just their friends. Others have seemed deliberate. A recent example was a party organised on a Lake Constance beach by 20-year-old Matthias Lohr, where 1,500 people accepted his public invitation.

Police got wind of the event and, fearing chaos, persuaded local authorities to ban it, but more than 150 people still showed up. It was classified as an illegal party, and Lohr ended up facing a fine of €227,000.

Rainer Wendt, chairman of the German Police Union (DPolG) told Bild: "If you invite people to a Facebook party that sparks a police intervention, you will have to pay the costs.

“But politicians should create the legal basis for making Facebook share the costs. The firm has made the platform available, and can't pretend it has nothing to do with it."

Story continues below…

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:56 August 10, 2012 by Navigator_B
If Facebook should be liable, then so should carmakers, train operators, record companies and mobile phone companies. Their products and services are all used to make illegal parties possible. Organising these parties is only a tiny part of what Facebook is used for but the police and ministers are picking on it because it's new and they're not used to it. It's not possible for any social network to monitor millions of messages for illegal activity.
11:14 August 10, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Shame that politicians are never ever liable for their mistakes.................
11:28 August 10, 2012 by raandy
Navigator, I totally agree and I am 99% sure the courts would not hold facebook liable or culpable for the actions of the party participants.

Facebook only facilitates the connection between goers not the place they attend or the destruction of property, disturbances or the involvement of the police.

People that attend such illegal parties are the ones liable and responsible for their own actions.

The ignorance of the user , is also not the responsibility of the social network.
12:56 August 10, 2012 by mos101392
Just when I thought I'be seen it all. The Germans never fail to amaze me. Always finding new ways to get paid. If Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal can't pay their loans...go after Facebook.....hilarious.
15:09 August 10, 2012 by rits
So now Politicians should also ask Deutsche Bahn to pay for the huge demonstration again Stuttgart21..

Also they should ask the various Labour Unions doing demonstations for pay hike..
16:05 August 10, 2012 by Eric1
The government should be liable also. They built the sidewalks, and streets. Also Al Gore should be held to account since he invented the internet.
17:20 August 10, 2012 by lucksi
Yeah, let's require facebook and any forum or website to read the comments posted by users before they are published. That would be the end of nearly everything. Any Youtube has to watch every video before the public can view it.

That sounds sane, right?

Better yet, let's create a government office that has to look through every website before it can be on the internet and if they miss anything illegal, let's fine them.
17:55 August 10, 2012 by realist1961
One thing you learn in the study of law is to never sue poor people. I'd say Herr Gall received a high mark in the subject. Unfortunately, he seems to have failed logic.
12:40 August 11, 2012 by pepsionice
Facebook, Google, Bahn, Ikea, Frankfurt Airport, farmers, wealthy billionaires, soccer clubs......yeah, go after all of them. Make them all pay up.
20:00 August 12, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
I reckon God should be liable for all of this as he created us all, allegedly.
05:55 August 15, 2012 by wood artist
Umm, right. And remember to go after DeutschePost too, since invitations can be sent through the mail. In fact, it would be just more practical to make it illegal to invite people to do anything...no weddings, no funerals, no public or private meetings of any kind...since people might show up and then...well...yeah.

Yup, this is a real practical idea.

@lucksi GEMA already does that with Youtube, and they even banned one I posted (at least it's banned within Germany) due to alleged copyright issues. The only problem is that I composed the music, wrote the libretto, and created the video. They can't seem to explain who else might have rights to it...but...it's still banned as of right now.

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