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German Justice Minister tells Facebook to curb hate speech

Germany's justice minister, Heiko Maas, has told Facebook it's not doing enough to curb hate crimes online. Recent police raids show that hate speech continues to be a major problem on German Facebook pages.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has accused Facebook of not sticking to agreements in the fight against hate speech online. According to German news magazine Spiegel, Maas told lobbyists representing Facebook that the social network was far behind on delivering on promises made in 2015 - that it would examine posts that were flagged for alleged incitement to hatred within 24 hours.

"Facebook does not delete enough comments and acts too slowly," Maas said on Twitter, adding that wrongly flagged content was often deleted instead of finding actual acts of hate speech. To improve the situation, Maas suggested that questionable content flagged by users should be given the same importance and relevance as content flagged by organizations.

Maas: more EU regulations

The comments came after Maas had said that the German government's resolute approach toward hate postings should also serve as a means of deterring people from resorting to hate crimes online - and not just to enforce punishment. German federal police (BKA) had conducted a series of raids earlier in the week targeting 60 suspects in 14 of Germany's 16 states, who are believed to have spread xenophobic, anti-Semitic and racist content and abusive statements.

The justice minister warned that he would try to get stronger regulations curbing hate speech through the European Parliament.

"The more affected companies [such as Facebook] manage to live up to their responsibilities in this area, the less we will need to push for more regulations," he said.

ss/jr (afp, epd, KNA)

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