On Monday, Germany’s justice minister announced a partnership with Facebook to get a handle on racist and hateful posts, Reuters reports. This comes to attention because refugees are flooding into Germany in record-breaking numbers, and people have taken to Facebook and other social media platforms to express anti-foreigner sentiment.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Facebook to do more, and the company then met with Justice Minister Heiko Maas to discuss details.
After the meeting, Maas said that his colleagues would implement a task force with Facebook, and other social networks and ISPs, to find and remove criminal posts.
Facebook had also previously announced a partnership with German group FSM, which monitors multimedia service providers, and is urging its users to discourage racist posts.
The partnership with FSM and task force with Maas are just the first two parts of a three-part plan, ZD Net reports. The third part is to promote ‘counter speech’ on Facebook in Germany, as a way to battle racism and xenophobia through social media interactions.
It will be interesting to see what happens because Facebook has not explicitly agreed to do what German officials want: immediately delete racist posts. In Germany, free speech doesn’t exist as we know it in the U.S. Instead it is illegal to say things that provoke hatred against segments of the population.
Another reason Facebook may want to take a more lenient approach that uses ‘counter-speak’ is that it will create more interactions and posts on their social media platform. And we all know at the end of the day, Facebook is firstly concerned with Facebook.
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