German police have undertaken a series of raids on individuals suspected of posting hate speech on social media.
Coordinated by the federal criminal police authority, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), the operation saw officers from 25 departments raid homes of 60 people across 14 states.
The police intend to address what they call a substantial increase in verbal radicalism, which is reported to have increased due to Europe’s refugee crisis.
The police targeted a secret Facebook group for its spreading of hate speech.
BKA president Holger Munch said: "Today's action makes it clear that police authorities of the federal and state governments act firmly against hate and incitement on the internet, which have increased significantly in the wake of the European refugee situation.
“Attacks on refugee shelters are often the result of radicalization, which begins in social networks. We therefore need to consistently pursue and stop this criminal content on the net.”
Previously, Twitter, Google, and Facebook have been criticised for failing to remove hate speech from their platforms in a timely manner.
Germany established a special task force in 2015 to crack down on hate speech. The three tech giants agreed to take swift action against hate speeches and delete them within 24 hours of flagging.
Facebook also agreed to launch a task force to combat online hate speech and a campaign to use social media as a means to counter racism.