Europe Targets Facebook Over Online Hate

Facebook reuters
How to curb hate speech on social media.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The limits of Internet freedom might be tested when it comes to spreading hate.

  • Facts


    • A surge of online right-wing hatred has been aimed at asylum seekers.
    • E.U. digital commissioner Günther Oettinger plans harsher regulations.
    • Germany’s justice minister is pressuring Facebook’s European chief.
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Hit by criticism over hate-filled online comments – including a xenophobic post that celebrated the drowning of a young refugee – the social network Facebook has vowed to crack down on cyber-smearing.

The recent photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, wearing a red shirt and blue shorts and lying face down in the sand, stirred the world’s conscience over Europe’s deepening refugee crisis. But it also prompted hatred on the Internet, including on Facebook where one commenter posted: “We do not mourn him, but celebrate.”

Media outlets reported the post was made to the Facebook group “Berlin Defends Itself,” a far-right-wing page dedicated to anti-immigrant sentiments. Police searched the apartment of a 26-year-old Berlin man suspected of the post and seized his computer and mobile phones.

But critics want more action. They are appalled at the recent rise of hate speech regarding asylum seekers, and have called on social networks like Facebook and Twitter to help stop it.

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