Facebook’s relationship with the content its users post and the balancing act it needs to pull off to allow free speech (but remove hate speech) is a tricky one.
Today, it’s in hot water with German prosecutors, who say they’re going to investigate the company’s European head, Martin Ott.
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According to Der Spiegel, Ott is the fourth executive at the company to be investigated over the issue of racist comments being allowed to remain on the site.
A spokesperson for the company told TNW:
“Facebook is not commenting on the status of a possible investigation but we can say that the allegations lack merit and there has been no violation of German law by Facebook or its employees.
It is important to note that there are several ways to report content on Facebook. Content such as hate speech, incitement or glorification of violence violates Facebook’s community standards. We urge people to use our reporting tools if they find content that they believe violates our standards so we can investigate and take swift action.
Through Facebook’s enhanced partnership with FSM and existing cooperation with organisations like Jugendschutz.net, people have additional levels of escalation to report their concerns. Reporting content to Facebook or to the FSM and Jugendschutz.net is, in our opinion, a far more solution-oriented approach.“
Reuters says that the public nature of the investigation comes as no surprise, as anti-foreigner sentiment has been increasing as Germany struggles to make room for around one million refugees this year.