Facebook launches Europe-wide initiative against online hate speech and extremist posts

By midian182
Jan 19, 2016
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  1. Facebook has begun a Europe-wide campaign to stop racist and extremist posts on its site. The social network launched the ‘Initiative for Civil Courage Online’ in Berlin, and has pledged to invest more than 1 million Euros ($1.09 million) to support non-government organizations that work to fight online hate speech.

    The initiative, announced by company COO Sheryl Sandberg on Monday night, is supported by the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and is a partnership between Facebook, the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence.

    “We have repeatedly emphasized that Facebook is no place for the dissemination of xenophobia, hate speech or calls for violence,” Sandberg said. “With this new initiative, we are convinced to better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the internet.”

    The campaign will be mainly focused on the financial support of NGOs that already battle online extremism, building “best practices” for those groups, and academic research initiatives to understand the roots of extremism and hate speech.

    Back in November last year, Germany launched an investigation into Facebook’s alleged failure to remove “hate speech” from the site. The prosecution in the case said that the failure to remove the comments could be attributed to Martin Ott, managing director for northern, central and eastern Europe of Facebook.

    In December, Facebook’s German headquarters was vandalized, allegedly as a protest against the company’s overpowering presence online. The day after the attack, Facebook, Google and Twitter all agreed to delete hate speech from each respective platform in Germany within 24 hours.

    A growing number of racist posts have appeared on the German Facebook platform recently, many of which are anti-foreigner comments directed at the high number of refugees entering the country.The recent events of New Year’s Eve in Cologne, where hundreds of women were sexually assaulted, allegedly by men of North African or Middle Eastern appearance, has exacerbated the problem.

    While the initiative should be applauded, it has once again brought up the issue of freedom of speech online. The company faced similar accusations of censorship last month when CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to fight to protect Muslim rights on Facebook.

    Meanwhile, anyone who wants to show support for the initiative can share stories and ideas on the official OCCI Facebook page by using the hashtag #civilcourage.

    “The best cure for bad ideas are good ideas,” Sandberg said. “The best remedy for hate is tolerance. Counter speech is incredibly strong — and it takes time, energy and courage.”

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,527   +688

    It is a very difficult call for those of us living in a country that promotes freedom of speech. The founding fathers warned against those that would try to prevent it and despite the differences in centuries, there were those that were just as extreme over two centuries ago. But there is a significant difference now where technology allows even the most primitive mind and equal footing on the world stage.

    Only time will tell if this is well intentioned or just the first shot in an attempt to silence all controversial ideas. Zuck has been caught manipulating many times before and that alone makes me suspicious; but if this is the real deal it could do a lot for limiting, or at least slowing down so many radicals that would wish to rule the world with their own self serving ideas ....
    Robinson Ochoa and p51d007 like this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    This is a poor decision for Facebook. Indicative of it's executives' arrogance.

    Facebook's popularity is based on its simplicity and brand name. All it is is a glorified message board.

    Making a stand for political correctness opens the door for competition to swoop in and take marketshare.

    That isn't a threat now, but it's a real one long-term. Just ask MySpace.
    Robinson Ochoa and p51d007 like this.
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 862   +353

    What a crock of mule fritters.
    Of course, this will all be "politically correct". If it is a leftist view, they will leave it alone, or promote it.
    If it is a conservative view, it will be considered hate speech, banned, the user kicked off facebook.
    THAT is how it works these days, because we threw COMMON SENSE out the window, and embraced
    political correctness, the downfall of most of the western world.
    Robinson Ochoa likes this.
  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,467   +1,760

    I wonder if Donald Trump is a Facebook member. If he is, I wonder how this will affect him....:(:oops:
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,384   +2,171

    When the bills start coming due the only appropriate response will be to refuse aid to the rabbits in the name of social justice.

    Can't say migrants bring crime with them? Not my problem when one of them assaults you.

    Can't speak ill of Islam? Don't expect me to sign your petition for installing fall nets on the 3rd floor.

    Sometimes you just have to let the kid touch the burner.

    Hypothetically... his poll numbers would go up.


    Can you believe this?

    I go to Facebook, a very big social media site, and I say, on Facebook, which is supposed to be about free speech, right?

    I go on Facebook and I say that I want to build a wall, that we have a problem with illegal immigration.

    Perfectly reasonable, right?

    So I say this and everybody likes it. You wouldn't believe how many likes this got!

    Well, they took it down. It was so popular and they deleted it. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg says it's hate speech.

    Can you believe that?! How terrible is Mark Zuckerberg.

    Polls +5
    Robinson Ochoa and ikesmasher like this.
  7. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 1,937   +157

    They are trying to take the hate out of the internet? Good luck lol.
  8. Nancie

    Nancie TS Rookie

    "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." or "L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs (Hell if full of good wishes)" - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
  9. Nancie

    Nancie TS Rookie

    Lol, Ikr? It's like they might as well shut it down and return to the dark ages.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,467   +1,760

    Why not take an altruistic approach to the situation? Work like hell to get the hate off the web, but leave the porn.(y)

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