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28 Sep 2015


Germany: Facebook to counter racist & anti-migrant speech online after request from govt.

"Migrant crisis: Facebook backs German anti-racism drive",

Facebook has promised new measures to help Germany counter racism and anti-migrant abuse on the internet.  Facebook says it will promote "counter speech" in Germany to combat such prejudices and will deploy experts to monitor hate speech and act against it.  It was a response to German government concern about a spate of race hate messages, some targeting politicians who defended the rights of migrants.  The government has urged Facebook to do more to delete and combat racist abuse...German Justice Minister Heiko Maas discussed the matter on Monday with Richard Allen, Facebook's public policy manager in Europe. "This is a task that involves the whole of society, and I am very thankful to Facebook that it is recognising its responsibility," Mr Maas said later.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Facebook announced "three new steps to counter xenophobia on the [German] platform":

  • Partnership with FSM - a German non-profit community group which aims to protect young people on the internet
  • A task force "to look at hate speech on the internet... and counter xenophobia" - participants will come from online community groups, political parties and the German justice ministry
  • A broad campaign "to promote counter speech in Germany", including the involvement of experts from the UK and Nordic countries, who have fought racism on social networks.

The Facebook statement said "debate can take place in robust terms as long as people do not cross over into using hate speech against protected groups or set out to organise violence against others".