Following an agreement with the German government, social media giants start the war against hate speech. Google, Twitter and Facebook unite their forces against discrimination, taking the pledge to remove harmful content off their networks.
The agreement comes as a result of the rising of hateful comments, especially in the context of the refugee crisis and the terrorist attacks in Paris. The social media networks agreed to remove hateful content within 24 hours.
Germany receives a great number of immigrants, of which many are Syrian refugees fleeing war and the Islamic State. Others are coming from Iraq and Afghanistan, running from conflicts which might jeopardize their lives.
Like many other Europeans, many Germans oppose the receiving of immigrants, engaging in antisocial behavior, especially on the unregulated internet. As a result, Germany needs to ensure an environment of tolerance for its more and more diverse citizens.
The agreement simplifies the social networks’ report procedure so it will be much simple for random users and anti-racism groups to report hateful content.
According to Heiko Maas, the German Minister of Justice, incitement to violence and criminal expressions which threaten people trespass the limits of free speech and they should be taken down off the internet within 24 hours.
Germany has already taken legal action against Facebook for failing to remove hate speech from the social platform. Facebook’s manager for Central, Eastern and Northern Europe might be held responsible for the social network’s failure to provide a safe environment for its users.
On the other side, Facebook’s spokesperson argues that the social platform hasn’t violated any German or European law.
Facebook declared that it encourages its users to report racism, as well as any kind of hate speech and incitement to violence, reassuring them that the majority of reports will be reviewed within 24 hours. The social platform has even a partnership with FSM, a non-profit association which monitors multimedia providers and is dedicated to make the internet a safe environment, especially for children and marginalized groups. Another social network giant that has a partnership with FSM is Google.
Google has also commented regarding the agreement, saying that the Company is committed to working with governments on the issue of hate speech and will review most of the flagged content in maximum 24 hours. The spokesperson has added that YouTube already had policies against extremism and hate speech.
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