Germany Tells Facebook: Delete Racist Anti-Refugee Posts

Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg, August 27, 2015

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas wants Facebook Inc. to remove racist posts targeting asylum seekers after several attacks on refugee camps in Germany over the past week.

Facebook should “urgently” review its practices when dealing with the posts, he told the company in an Aug. 26 letter obtained by Bloomberg News. Numerous users have complained to the ministry that Facebook didn’t remove xenophobic posts even after they were flagged and reviewed, arguing that the comments don’t violate its community standards. That didn’t go down well in Berlin.

It is incomprehensible that “photos of certain body parts are automatically deleted because of moral concerns, yet racist and xenophobic statements aren’t immediately removed,” Maas wrote in the letter, which was reported earlier by Tagesspiegel newspaper. “There must be no mistaken tolerance for users that offensively preach xenophobia and racism.” He invited Facebook for talks Sept. 14 in the ministry.
Facebook said it takes the minister’s concerns seriously and welcomes the opportunity to meet.

“Facebook is no place for racism,” it said in a statement e-mailed by public relations company APCO Worldwide. “Such content clearly violates our community standards and we would urge people not to try and use our platform to distribute hate speech.”

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Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google Inc. have come under pressure from governments around the world to step up the fight against hate speech on their platforms. {snip}

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