Facebook’s troubles in Europe just do not seem to end. Now German prosecutors are investigating a complaint against the U.S. firm for mishandling hate posts on its platform which lead to hatred against other people, says a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Allegation for incitement
On Oct. 5, a lawyer brought a complaint against three managers of Facebook Germany, after which authorities opened an investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the prosecutors’ office in Hamburg on Monday. “The allegation is for incitement. More specifically, it is about Facebook’s deleting practice and about how it deals with hate posts,” the spokeswoman said.
Hamburg’s criminal investigations office has received a request from prosecutors to examine whether there are grounds for a case, but they haven’t received any assessment as yet, said the spokeswoman.
German criminal law allows any individual to file a complaint with law enforcement agencies on the grounds that an individual or a group of individuals has undertaken some action that could amount to a criminal offense. German criminal law has a provision for punishment for as many as three years in prison if someone makes a comment publicly that incites hatred or violence against a section of the population for its ethnic or religious background, says The WSJ.
Facebook working to curb hate speech
There have been no comments from Facebook on the matter. Previously, the company has stated that it removes public postings that are in violation of its terms of service and illegal under national laws. The social network claims it takes a hard approach against any incitement to violence on its platform, including hate speech.
In September, Facebook had a meeting with German government officials in which it promised to work with the justice ministry to fight xenophobic and racist messages on its platform. The U.S. firm also agreed to provide financial support to organizations that flag postings to be removed, and it also encourage users to draft counter messages to hate speech on the web.
Facebook was also told to form a task force with other Internet providers to keep a watch for inappropriate content to be flagged and evaluate whether or not it comes under the freedom of speech or is abstained from German law.