Germany starts enforcing online hate speech rules

(CBS/CNET) -- Germany started enforcing rules on Jan. 1 that could cost companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube a pretty penny if they don't remove posts containing hate speech within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

The new hate speech rules that were passed last June could cost social media companies up to 50 million euros ($60 million), CBS News reports.

The rules require companies to maintain a transparent procedure for handling complaints that is easily accessible to users. When sites receive a complaint, they must remove or block "obviously illegal content" within 24 hours of the original post time. They reportedly have up to a week to deal with "complex cases."

In June, Facebook told CNET they remove 66,000 posts every week. Twitter banned users from promoting violence and hate in their usernames and bios last month.

A YouTube spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNET they plan to continue investing in technology to quickly remove content that breaks rules.

Germany isn't the only area that wants social media sites to take more action against hate speech. The European Union said Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have been working harder at the job, but also mentioned that they managed to block twice the volume of hate content at a quicker rate than the companies did in the beginning of the year.