According to Eva-Maria Kirschsieper, Facebook’s chief lobbyist in Germany as head of its public policy team, “Hate is not part of our business model. We have a special responsibility and we take that very seriously.”
Her comments are clearly directed at the country’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, who has been pushing legislation through the German Parliament that would see Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube fined millions of euros for not being quick enough to remove hate speech.
Facebook does not like Mr. Maas’ proposed legislation; last week they released a statement in response to the new rules, in which they said the law – known as the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, or network enforcement law, in English – “is not suitable to combat hate speech and false news.”
The 11-page Facebook statement was hardly likely to encourage a better relationship between the US-based social media giant and German politicians.
“Dilettante,” was how Petra Sitte, the Left Party’s spokeswoman described it. “Odd behavior,” said Michael Grosse-Broemer, head of the ruling Christian Democratic Union’s parliamentary faction. And Konstantin von Notz, the Green party’s specialist for digital matters, said he suspected that Facebook would rather that everyone forget about the whole thing. Mr. von Notz said that during his visits to Facebook’s headquarters in the US, the feeling was that because the platform was so active in 200 countries around the world, they could not just go around bending to every single country’s will.