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Facebook will do 'better job' on hate speech in Germany, says Mark Zuckerberg

Published 26/02/2016

Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook in Germany now treats migrants as a 'protected class' of people
Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook in Germany now treats migrants as a 'protected class' of people

Mark Zuckerberg has conceded that Facebook did not do enough until recently to police hate speech on the social media site in Germany, but said it has made progress and has heard the message "loud and clear".

German authorities, concerned about racist abuse being posted on Facebook and other social networks as the country deals with an influx of hundreds of thousands of migrants, have been pressing social media sites for months to crack down.

Facebook chief executive Mr Zuckerberg talked personally about the issue in September with chancellor Angela Merkel, and met her chief of staff during a visit to Germany this week.

The Merkel meeting "really highlighted how much more we needed to do in this country", he said at a town hall event in Berlin.

"Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community," he said. "Until recently in Germany I don't think we were doing a good enough job, and I think we will continue needing to do a better and better job."

Mr Zuckerberg pointed to efforts including funding a team to work with police to combat hate speech on Facebook. He said that learning more about German law has led the company to expand its view of "protected groups" there and "to now include hate speech against migrants as an important part of what we just now have no tolerance for".

"There's still work to do," he said. "We want to do that, but I think we hear the message loud and clear and we're committed to doing better."

Mr Zuckerberg offered praise for Germany's approach to Europe's migrant crisis.

Mrs Merkel has so far maintained an open-door policy for refugees, seeking an elusive diplomatic solution to reduce an influx that has prompted an increasing number of countries to impose national restrictions.

"German leadership in the refugee crisis, I think, has been inspiring and is a model for the world," he said.

"I hope that more countries follow Germany's lead on this," he added. "I hope the US follows Germany's lead on this."

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