Criminal online content: A new law has come into effect in Germany compelling social media firms to immediately remove “obviously illegal” posts, or face huge fines. The law, which was passed by parliament in June and came into effect on 1 October, gives social media companies 24 hours to delete or block obviously criminal content, and seven days to deal with less clear-cut cases. They must also report back to the person who raised the complaint to let them know the outcome. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to s50m for the firm (for repeated breaches), and a personal fine of s5m for the firm’s chief executive in Germany. However, opponents of the law are hopeful that the next German government (see right) may well overturn it: of Angela Merkel’s likely coalition partners, the Greens abstained in the vote, and the FDP were opposed to it and want it scrapped.