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EU refugee crisis: Facebook to cooperate with Germany to clamp down on racist and anti-refugee hate speech

Clara Guibourg
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"The idea is to better identify content that is against the law and remove it faster" (Source: Getty)

Facebook has promised to help the German government tackle a wave of online hate speech in the wake of the ongoing refugee crisis, responding to criticism that it’s failed to do its part.

The social network has come under fire for being too slow in removing xenophobic content from its platform, even when reported, as German justice minister Heiko Maas wrote in a letter to the company:

Facebook users are, in particular, complaining increasingly that your company is not effectively stopping racist ‘posts’ and comments despite their pointing out concrete examples.

The company now promises to do better. To that end, it’ll be working together with Germany’s ministry of defence and internet service providers in the country to create a new hate speech task force, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.

There won’t be any changes in policy on what types of content are forbidden, rather, Facebook simply promises to become better at dealing with illegal content more efficiently, as Heiko Maas said to the newspaper:

The idea is to better identify content that is against the law and remove it faster from the web.

Germany expects to see some 800,000 refugees apply for asylum this year, as the country’s asylum system outstrips all other European countries by far. But alongside solidarity movements like #refugeeswelcome, this has also brought on a backlash of xenophobia.

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