Social media takes on racism

Germany’s justice minister has vowed to work with Facebook to thwart racist and hate posts, acting on worries about a rise of xenophobic comments in German on social media linked to Europe’s refugee crisis.

Germany is expecting a record-breaking influx of refugees this year and politicians and celebrities have voiced concern about the rise of anti-foreigner comments in German on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Chancellor Angela Merkel last week urged Facebook to do more and the social media company met Justice Minister Heiko Maas at his suggestion.

Maas said after the meeting that his ministry would set up a taskforce with Facebook and other social networks and internet service providers with the aim of identifying criminal posts more quickly and removing them.

“This is a joint task for the whole of society, and I am very grateful to Facebook that they are taking their responsibly in this joint task,” Maas said.

Facebook earlier had announced a partnership with a group called FSM, which voluntarily monitors multimedia service providers, and said it would encourage its users to push back against racism.

Maas earlier wrote to Facebook public policy director Richard Allan in Dublin saying he had received complaints from users that their protests about racist posts had been ignored.


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