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Zuckerberg: No Place for Hate Speech on Facebook

  • VOA Staff

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the awarding ceremony of the newly established Axel Springer Award in Berlin, Feb. 25, 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the awarding ceremony of the newly established Axel Springer Award in Berlin, Feb. 25, 2016.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg concedes that his company has not done enough to police hate speech on the social media site, but says it is making progress and has heard the message "loud and clear."

German authorities, concerned about racist abuse posted on Facebook and other social networks as the country deals with raised tensions and outbreaks of violence against record numbers of migrants arriving in the country, have pressed social media sites for months to crack down.

Zuckerberg talked about the issue in September with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and he met her chief of staff during his visit to Germany this week.

The Merkel meeting "really highlighted how much more we needed to do in this country," Zuckerberg said Friday 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."

Zuckerberg pointed to efforts that included funding a team to work with police to combat hate speech on Facebook.

He said learning more about German law had led the company to expand its view of "protected groups" there and "to now include hate speech against migrants" among the kinds of online behavior that wouldn't be tolerated.

Zuckerberg said Facebook had not previously considered migrants as a class of people who needed protection, akin to racial minorities or other underrepresented groups that Facebook looks out for.

"Learning more about German culture and German law has led us to change our approach on that," he said.

The world's biggest social network rarely breaks down users by country but says it has about 21 million daily users in Germany, or about a quarter of the population. That's fewer than the 24 million it had in less populous Britain more than two years ago.

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