German far-right uses WhatsApp feature to share Nazi stickers | News | DW | 17.11.2018
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German far-right uses WhatsApp feature to share Nazi stickers

A German-Jewish group has flagged a new WhatsApp sticker-creating feature being used to send neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic messages. It has called on the Facebook-owned messaging service to intervene.

Neo-Nazis in Germany have found another way to share anti-Semitic messages using WhatsApp's new sticker feature, just days after it was rolled out.

 

They are using the service's feature that lets users create their own stickers to share Nazi symbols such as swastikas and SS sig runes.

Germany's Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA) flagged the trend in a tweet and asked the Facebook-owned company what could be done to stop such images from being used. "Just after WhatsApp makes it possible to create and use stickers, right-wing extremists flood their group chats with hateful Nazi symbols," JFDA tweeted.

"These anti-Semitic stickers are unacceptable and we do not want them in WhatsApp. We strongly condemn this hatred," a WhatsApp spokesman told Germany's Bild mass-circulation newspaper.

"If users get stickers with illegal content, we ask them to report it. We will act accordingly against it, even to the extent of blocking the accounts from which they were sent."

Illegal symbols

Displaying Nazi emblems such as swastikas and SS sig runes publicly in Germany is illegal. The German law considers them the "symbols of anti-constitutional organizations."

But enforcing a ban on them on WhatsApp is complicated.

In a similar case in 2016, in which Nazi images were circulated on WhatsApp, the legal opinion was that the distribution of such symbols would only be punishable if they were shared in WhatsApp groups, Bild reported.

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