Facebook embarks on crusade to purge ‘xenophobic comments that target refugees’

Facebook embarks on crusade to purge ‘xenophobic comments that target refugees’

Facebook Inc (FB.O) began a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to thwart extremist posts on social media, after German politicians in particular raised concerns about a rise in xenophobic comments linked to an influx of refugees.

The U.S.-based group launched its “Initiative for Civil Courage Online” in Berlin, pledging over 1 million euros (1 million pounds) to support non-governmental organisations in their efforts to counter racist and xenophobic posts.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said hate speech “has no place in our society”, including in the Internet.

Facebook’s ground rules forbid bullying, harassment and threatening language, but critics say it does not enforce them properly.

On Friday, the firm said it had hired a unit of the publisher Bertelsmann to monitor and delete racist posts on its platform in Germany.

In November, prosecutors in Hamburg launched an investigation into Facebook on suspicion of not doing enough to prevent the dissemination of hate speech.

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