Facebook investigated by German prosecutors for failing to stop ‘hate speech’
Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and other senior executives are being investigated in Germany after a lawyer filed a complaint accusing them of allegedly allowing racist and violent posts to remain on the social networking site.
The social media giant was accused of doing little to stop racism, Holocaust denial and violent threats on the site, according to Der Spiegel.
A Bavarian lawyer initiated the case by reporting Facebook to the police, accusing the company’s management of allowing such hateful posts to stay on the site without any consequences.
Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, European policy director Richard Allan and company head in the Berlin office Maria Kirschsieper, are also under investigation.
German law requires Facebook to delete any content considered to be inciting hatred. Earlier this year, the company was also hit with a criminal complaint, but authorities said at the time they were unable to investigate because the accused, Zuckerberg, was not residing within German borders when it was brought to light.
German politicians have criticized Facebook for reportedly failing to take action against hate speech on the site.
In October, Volker Kauder, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said Facebook and other social media giants should face penalties for not taking action against hate speech, following the rise of xenophobic comments amid the refugee crisis in Europe.
Kauder said he had “run out of patience” with how social media giants were dealing with abusive content.
Many users of Facebook, Twitter and Google said that despite pledges from the companies to remove hate speech within 24 hours from their sites, users complaints were not adequately dealt with, the Local reports.
Facebook did not comment on the investigation status but said “the allegations lack merit and there has been no violation of German law by Facebook or its employees.”