One year after hunting down more than 60 individuals accused of hate speech on Facebook, German police were at it again with another nationwide sneak attack in the early hours on Tuesday, arresting 36 more haters in this second annual Facebook raid.
Anyone that has used social media has come across plenty of postings that could technically be classified as hate speech, but in Germany this type of talk often crosses a legal line, and anyone caught doing so can face up to five years in prison.
The extent of hate that caused these 36 individuals to be singled out and snatched from their homes in the 6am Facebook raid isn’t fully clear as the official police report only mentions that most were politically motivated hate and an incident of attacking one’s sexual orientation. Sounds like a normal day on Facebook.
Holger Manch, president of Germany’s Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office) issued the following statement on the recent raid:
“The continuously high levels of criminal hateposts continues to show the need for police action. Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threats, incitement and violence, whether it is out in public or on the internet.
The police and the judiciary are therefore working together again today to jointly fight against internet haters, whether the underlying acts were left, right or otherwise motivated. I welcome the repetition of last year’s anti-hate campaign. As the center, the Federal Criminal Police Office supports the measures of the states.
Combating hatred on the internet is a great societal task. Almost everyone can contribute. Support the fight against criminal hate postings by providing criminal complaints or informing internet companies, signatories, associations and clubs about offensive internet content.”