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January 19, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:58am

Facebook launches Euorpe-wide campaign against hate speech & extremist posts

News: The company launched its Initiative for Civil Courage Online in Berlin, Germany.

By CBR Staff Writer

Facebook has launched a campaign across Europe to stop racist and extremist posts on the social network.

Under its Initiative for Civil Courage Online, the social networking giant said it would invest more than €1m to support non-governmental organisations that work to combat online extremism.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said: "Hate speech has no place in our society, not even on the Internet.

"Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence. With this new initiative, we can better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet."

The company’s move follows concerns raised by German lawmakers on the rise in xenophobic posts related to the refugee crisis.

Last year, Germany welcomed thousands of refugees from war torn regions of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan which has triggered a backlash from nationalists, including neo-Nazis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also urged Facebook to do more in stopping racist hate posts.

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In November last year, German prosecutors launched an investigation into Facebook to determine whether the company is taking enough measures to stop hate speech.

The German Justice Ministry had established a task force with Facebook and other social networking firms to identify criminal posts more quickly and remove them.

Facebook recently hired a unit of German media firm Bertelsmann to monitor and delete racist posts on its network.

Facebook was also among the several technology firms who recently met with the US Government to discuss ways to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism online.

The company already bans posts that are threatening and harassing, however several critics say it does not take enough measures to quickly remove comments that violate the guidelines.

It was reported last year that hackers are evading spam filters on Facebook’s popular comment plugin to carry out a technical support scam for various operating systems, including Windows and Mac.

The hackers also use phoney Facebook pages to disguise their activity, and were said to be targeting Windows computers, Mac OS X machines and iPhones.

Facebook said it will warn users if they are being targeted by cyber attackers sponsored by state.

If there is suspicious activity identified in any account, the social media giant will notify users to turn on their Login Approvals.

Once the Login Approvals are turned on, the users will be asked to key in a security code sent by Facebook, to ensure the security of their account.


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