Facebook is Working With Germany to Fight Anti-Refugee Content

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Facebook has vowed to help the German government clamp down on hate speech and xenophobia relating to refugees.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is to work with the country’s ministry of justice and internet providers in order to remove content deemed to be hateful from the social network. The move follows recent criticism of Facebook by Heiko Maas, Germany’s justice minister. “Facebook users are, in particular, complaining increasingly that your company is not effectively stopping racist ‘posts’ and comments despite their pointing out concrete examples,” wrote Maas in a letter to the social network.

Facebook has, however, pointed out that it has no intention of changing its policy about the types of content that are considered to be offensive. In fact, the WSJ cites a source who’s familiar with the discussions, pointing out that refugees don’t seem to be protected by Facebook’s hate speech policy; as Verge points out, the site allows criticism of people based on actions, but not their identities.

Germany is currently experiencing a large influx of asylum seekers, many from Syria and Afghanistan, and expects to welcome a record number during the year. The arrival of large numbers of immigrants has given rise to protests across Germany.

The new initiative to help remove hateful content from social networks was settled on yesterday during talks held in Berlin between Maas and Facebook. [Wall Street Journal via The Verge]

Image by Kārlis Dambrāns under Creative Commons licence.