Facebook Pledges to Combat Racism on German Platform

Frank Zeller, Yahoo! News, September 14, 2015

Facebook pledged Monday to combat racist hate speech on its German-language network amid a spike in xenophobic comments online as Germany faces an unprecedented influx of refugees.

The US social media network said it would encourage “counter speech” and step up monitoring of anti-foreigner commentary, as company representatives met German Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

With Germany facing a record influx of refugees and a backlash from the far right, social media like Facebook have seen an upsurge of hateful, xenophobic commentary.

Facebook said it would work with organisations in Germany “to develop appropriate solutions to counter xenophobia and racism and to represent this online”.

Maas, who has recently said Facebook should not “become a fun fair for the far right”, said new measures to combat xenophobia online could be introduced “from now to the end of the year, if possible.”

“The objective is to improve the management of (user) reports” against xenophobic comments, the minister said.

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Many users say that when they complain to Facebook about offensive posts, the network often responds that after a review the post does not violate its community standards.

Users also accuse the company of double standards for cracking down swifter and harder on nudity and sexual content than on hate-mongering.

Maas said Facebook was required to delete posts in violation of German laws against incitement of racial hatred, and has for weeks urged the company to delete racist comments and threats that have targeted politicians, artists and volunteers helping refugees.

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