Facebook Tears Down Neo-Nazi Groups

Dennis Faas's picture

Think the Internet is all about freedom of speech? Not Facebook. After a number of complaints from mostly European sources, the popular social networking site has pulled and banned several Neo-Nazi groups.

The European Parliament lodged the most significant complaint with the California-based Facebook. Martin Schulz, Socialist leader within the EP, told the media, "The existence of these groups is repulsive."

Officially, Facebook removed the sites because they conflicted with its terms of use. Although the site "supports the free flow of information," representatives felt that the Neo-Nazi sites were "violent or threatening", grounds for shutting them up. (Source: yahoo.com)

The sites struck a chord in Europe, where racism has recently flared up between Catholics and gypsies in Italy. Gypsy communities have been subject to some brutal attacks in recent months, and the media there has closely covered the violence.

Some of the sites allegedly contained anti-Semitic views, a theme that continues to resound with survivors of the Second World War. Shimon Samuels, representative for human rights group Simon Wiesenthal, believes Facebook needs to get tougher in weeding out this kind of hate.

"It's not a new thing," Samuels said. "It's happened before, it's even happened before on Facebook. We are not surprised this group of really marginal Italian neo-Nazis have taken advantage of it."

In response, Facebook stated that although it does not have a method for preventing the creation of hate groups, it does actively and diligently crawl the site in search of terms-of-use violators.

Americans will undoubtedly recognize the impact Facebook racism can have. Prior to and after Obama's victory, a number of pages had been created to declare the new president a communist, socialist, and terrorist. (Source: houmatoday.com)

As social networking continues to become more and more popular, it must also deal with the side effects. Balancing freedom of speech and protecting against racial and physical threats could prove the concept's most daunting challenge.

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