German lawyer makes hate-speech complaint against Facebook

Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:35pm EDT
 
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German prosecutors are again considering whether to press charges against Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives for failing to staunch a tide of racist and threatening posts on the social network during an influx of migrants into Europe.

Munich prosecutors said they had received a complaint filed by a German technology law firm two weeks ago alleging that Facebook (FB.O: Quote) broke strict national laws against hate speech, sedition and support for terrorist organizations.

Attorney Chan-jo Jun, who filed a similar complaint in Hamburg a year ago, is demanding that Facebook executives be compelled to comply with anti-hate speech laws by removing racist or violent postings from their site. Jun is principal partner of the law firm Jun Lawyers of Wuerzburg in Bavaria.

Facebook said the complaint had no merit. "Mr Jun's complaints have repeatedly been rejected and there is no merit to this (latest) one either," a Facebook spokeswoman said.

"There is no place for hate on Facebook. Rather than focusing on these claims we work with partners to fight hate speech and foster counter speech."

Facebook's rules forbid bullying, harassment and threatening language, but critics say it does not do enough to enforce them.

A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor in Munich said a decision would be taken in coming weeks on whether to act on the new complaint, which names Zuckerberg - Facebook's founder and chief executive - and regional European and German managers.

Hamburg prosecutors denied Jun's earlier complaint on grounds that the regional court lacked jurisdiction because Facebook's European operations are based in Ireland.

Jun wrote on his website he believed he would get a more favorable hearing in Bavaria because the justice ministry had signaled an openness to hearing racial hate crime cases.   Continued...

 
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California September 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo