German minister steps up fight against online hate speech

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the government could take legal action against Facebook and other social media groups if they do not intensify their fight against illegal hate speech or Islamist “terror fantasies”, reports. Maas said Facebook, Twitter and Google were removing illegal content from the internet more frequently and quickly, but more work was needed.

He said the social media groups responded mostly to requests by government-funded organisations but did not take private complaints as seriously. Of the illegal content reported by users, Twitter deletes about 1 percent, YouTube just 10 percent and Facebook about 46 percent, Maas said. Those rates were too low, he added.

German political leaders and regulators say the world’s largest social network, with 1.6 billion monthly users, has been slow to respond to hate speech and anti-immigrant messages. European Union Commissioner Vera Jourova told the news conference with Maas that she was counting on voluntary steps by social media firms and preferred to avoid deadlines.

Facebook sparked a controversy earlier this month when it deleted Nick Ut’s Pulitzer prize-winning Vietnam War photo of a naked girl (Kim Phuc) fleeing a napalm attack, saying it violated restrictions on nudity. The company later reinstated the photograph after it received multiple complaints, including from Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who accused Facebook of censorship and of editing history.

Source: Telecom Papers

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