In the face of mounting pressure regarding the dissemination of hate speech on its platform in Germany, Facebook has decided to take a backseat by contracting the task to another firm.
The social network has outsourced the fight against expressions of racism on its service to a Bertelsmann business services unit, which now monitors and deletes racist posts on Facebook.
Bertelsmann unit Arvato has hired around 100 extra people to help Facebook search for and remove posts that violate its hate speech ground rules, reports German weekly Der Spiegel. Among the content that could be targeted are posts that include bullying, harassment, and threatening language.
The move reportedly comes in the wake of an investigation launched by prosecutors in Hamburg that claimed the social network was violating Germany’s laws against the promotion of hate speech.
German politicians and celebrities have also criticized Facebook over its failure to combat the rise in anti-foreigner comments on its platform. The uptick in hate speech in Germany is being viewed as a reaction to the country’s decision to accept more migrants — Germany’s efforts to resettle refugees and asylum seekers within its borders saw it allow 1.1 million individuals to enter the country in 2015.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also voiced her disdain for Facebook, urging it to do more in regard to the matter. The Justice Ministry recently set up a task force with a number of major social networks, including Facebook, to help identify and remove “discriminatory” posts quickly.
Germany is not the only nation that has obligated social media platforms to comply with legal limitations placed on free expression. Recently, Turkey fined Twitter for its delayed removal of what the government deemed “terrorist propaganda.” Members of the French government have also met with Web giants, including Twitter and Facebook, to discuss how to combat radicalism online.