There has been an ongoing tug-of-war between Facebook and Germany over the removal of messages that the government considers hateful, and after agreeing late last year to remove hate speech posts within 24 hours of them being reported, the government has said they still aren’t happy.
hard to argue that the current approach isn’t working
The zero hate tolerance received attention back in July when more than 60 homes were raided over hateful Facebook posts, making it hard to argue that the current approach isn’t working. And while the task at large is not an easy one by any measure, Facebook is still praised by many for doing the most out of any of the large social media platforms when it comes to targeting hate.
Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere made it clear during a visit to Facebook’s offices in Berlin, that he wants the company to take a more proactive approach, telling reporters, “Facebook should take down racist content or calls for violence from its pages on its own initiative even if it hasn’t yet received a complaint”.
Eva-Maria Kirschsieper, Facebook’s head of Public Policy in Germany, responded to de Maiziere’s concerns with reassurance, saying “We see ourselves as part of German society and part of the German economy. We know that we have a major responsibility and we want to live up to this responsibility. We take this issue very seriously indeed.”
The Counter Extremist Project (CEP), based in New York, currently maintains a database on extremist groups and is in the final stages of testing a tool that would quickly find images and videos known to be related to such groups and would delete them instantly, making it a good fit for Facebook once it is completed. Until then, discussions between the German government and Facebook will continue to go on.