German Prime Minister Angela Merkel criticized Facebook this week for not doing enough to remove racist posts. Her comments followed on the heels of Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas pressuring the site to do more about the same issue last month.
Both politicians spoke out in the wake of immigrants pouring into Germany from conflict-torn Syria, a movement that sparked virulent protests in some regions of the country over the influx of foreigners. The newspaper that Merkel spoke to while delivering her comments is located in the country’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, which must accept one-fifth of all immigrants coming to Germany.
“When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it’s not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these [people],” Merkel said.
The Prime Minister also criticized Facebook for not doing enough to enforce its own policies on the issue, saying “the rules need to be implemented.”
Facebook does have strong rules banning hate speech on the site, but all too often offensive content is allowed to remain posted. There’s no doubt that most people in the U.S. support the idea of privacy and freedom of speech on social media, but sometimes Facebook needs to step in to stop its own users.