Facebook, Google, Twitter Commit To Hate Speech Action In Germany

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook, Google, Twitter Commit To Hate Speech Action In Germany.

The German government yesterday secured an agreement from Facebook, Google and Twitter to delete hate speech within 24 hours as it steps up efforts to combat racist sentiments being expressed online in the wake of the European refugee crisis. The influx of migrants to Germany, which has agreed to take the largest number of refugees, has led to a rise in racist sentiments expressed via web platforms such as Facebook. The country is now on pace to take in one million asylum-seekers this year and has been under a great deal of pressure to tackle the backlash from the far right.

Reuters quotes German Justice Minister Heiko Maas saying that “criminal expressions, sedition, incitement to carry out criminal offences that threaten people” cross the boundaries of free speech and that such content “has to be deleted from the net”. The news, issued by the German Justice Ministry, is light on details: Will Google search be wiped of results that include hate speech—or would the policy only apply to user-posted content on Google+?

The issue of hate speech on the Internet has come to center stage in light of the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, as well as the ensuing debates about immigration, refugees, and civil rights. However German prosecutors have also launched multiple investigations into Facebook managers over alleged failure to remove racists posts, including an investigation of its Hamburg-based European head which kicked off last month. A recent call by presidential hopeful Donald Trump to ban all Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S. has further fueled the debate, with many labeling the billionaire’s remarks hate speech.

In a recent test of Facebook’s policy, Fast Company uncovered a double standard: While test posts containing the same language as Trump’s infamous speech were removed when flagged, the candidate’s original statement has remained on the social network.

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