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Facebook starts to counter extremist posts

Facebook A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in Zenica,   in this photo illustration


Facebook has answered criticism from German officials that it had not done enough to remove racist commentary with an initiative to counter extremist posts on the social network in Europe.

Last week, Facebook expanded its hate speech monitoring by hiring a unit of Bertelsmann, the German media company, to help monitor and delete hateful posts.

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The social network also start a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to thwart extremist posts, after German politicians in particular raised concerns about a rise in xenophobic comments linked to an influx of refugees.

Facebook launched its Online Civil Courage Initiative in Berlin, pledging over 1 million euros ($1.09 million) to support non-governmental organizations in their efforts to counter racist and xenophobic posts.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Facebook to do more, and the Justice Ministry set up a task force with Facebook and other social networks and Internet service providers with the aim of identifying criminal posts more quickly and taking them down.

The social network already bans comments that are harassing or threatening, but critics say it does not do enough to quickly take down posts that contravene these guidelines.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced the initiative in Berlin on Monday evening. “Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence, ” she said.

“With this new initiative, we can better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet.”





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