As of today in Germany, Facebook, Google and Twitter have agreed to delete hate speech from each respective platform within 24 hours. Reuters reports that the new agreement will make it easier for individuals or anti-racism groups to report hate speech violations to each social media platform.

A total of four Facebook executives have been investigated in Germany in the last few months, so perhaps this new agreement will relieve some of the tension around hate speech and racism on Facebook.

Unlike in the U.S., hate speech is illegal in Germany. A person can be prosecuted for saying things that provoke hatred against segments of the population.

In the Reuters article, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said:

“When the limits of free speech are trespassed, when it is about criminal expressions, sedition, incitement to carry out criminal offenses that threaten people, such content has to be deleted from the net. And we agree that as a rule this should be possible within 24 hours.”

Just over the weekend, a group of vandals painted “Facebook dislike” on an outer wall Facebook’s Hamburg office. And back in September, Germany asked Facebook to do more about controlling hate speech. At the time, Facebook didn't agree to delete hate speech posts. But as online racism connected to the refugee crisis continues to rise, German officials pushed until they got the agreement announced today.

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