Despite grovelling efforts by Facebook to appease Germany over “online hate speech” against migrants, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being taken to court in the country. A €150m lawsuit recently filed by two German lawyers accuses Zuckerberg and Facebook of violating the country’s anti-Nazi and anti-hate speech laws.
As we’ve previously reported at Breitbart Tech, Zuckerberg has made repeated attempts to appease the Germans on hate speech. The CEO personally visited Germany this month to insist that hate speech has “no place” on his platform and was previously caught on tape assuring German chancellor Angela Merkel that Facebook would “work” on the problem.
During his visit to Germany, Zuckerberg also promised to have “no tolerance” for “hate speech against migrants.” Facebook has even launched a €1 million initiative to tackle “hate speech” on social media, which they will run alongside European NGOs to “thwart xenophobia.”
Yet their efforts have failed at thwarting another hostile force: activist German lawyers, who are determined to prosecute Zuckerberg for failing to censor his platform fast enough.
Cologne attorney Christian Solmecke and Bavaria-based lawyer Chan Jo-Jun recently filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg for violating Germany’s laws against inciting hatred and displaying Nazi symbols in the country. They argue that such material can still be found on the German version of Facebook. If convicted, Zuckerberg would face a €150 million fine.
Solmecke and Jun have also filed a suit against Martin Ott, Facebook’s executive for northern, central, and eastern Europe.
According to Vice News, who interviewed the lawyers, Jun has assembled a list of “more than 300 Facebook pages and posts that contain swastikas and other Nazi-related images” as well as “calls for violence” against recent migrants to Germany.
“I think Facebook has changed German society — not for the good,” Jun told Vice. “The complaints created an awareness that what Facebook is doing is not just a social problem but a legal problem. I’m glad to be part of that.”
Facebook’s rules already innclude heavy-handed bans on anything that looks remotely like hate speech, as well as a host of minor offences like “bullying.” Yet Jun and Solmecke still believe the company can do more to enforce their rules.
European authorities are currently engaged in an extensive crackdown against alleged “hate speech” on the internet, as a wave of popular anger over European elites’ failed immigration policies threatens to overturn the current political consensus. Police in the Netherlands are threatening citizens who are overly-critical of European immigration policies online, while a man in Scotland was recently arrested for alleged “hate speech” against migrants on Facebook.