Angela Merkel overheard confronting Mark Zuckerberg over the need to ‘do some work’ about racist posts on Facebook

Angela Merkel overheard confronting Mark Zuckerberg over the need to ‘do some work’ about racist posts on Facebook

Conversation overheard between German chancellor and tech CEO, who sat together at luncheon on the sideline of UN meetings this Saturday
Zuckerberg said ‘we need to do some work’ before Merkel pressed him on the issue that has gained urgency in Germany after violent attacks
Country said it could take in 800,000 refugees this year as immigrants streamed toward Europe seeking asylum from war-torn homeland
Facebook previously said it would work with German monitoring group after Justice Minister criticized company’s stance on xenophobic posts

PUBLISHED: 17:23, 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 19:27, 28 September 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confronted Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a conversation overheard at the UN about those using his social network to post hateful material.

Speaking to the European leader at a luncheon, Zuckerberg was heard saying ‘we need to do some work’ in reference to the German push against racist posts on the Internet.

‘Are you working on this?’ Merkel, who has seen an increase in violence against immigrants in her country during a massive intake of Syrian refugees, pressed again.

Zuckerberg replied, ‘yeah’, before a speaker at the event on Saturday in New York made the rest of the conversation inaudible.

‘We are committed to working closely with the German government on this important issue,’ Facebook spokesman Debbie Frost told Bloomberg.

‘We think the best solutions to dealing with people who make racist and xenophobic comments can be found when service providers, government and civil society all work together to address this common challenge.’

Merkel’s desire to push Facebook to greater control over the information on its website comes as her administration says it would welcome 800,000 refugees from the war-torn Middle East this year.

However some Germans, particularly some in the ex-communist eastern part of the country, have opposed the move to assuage the humanitarian crisis by taking in the refugees.

As streams of asylum-seekers arrive in the country, there has been a rise in arson attacks in places such as the castle town Meissen, as well as physical assaults on the immigrants on the street.

There were five fire attacks at refugee hostels within a single week in late August, according to Der Spiegel.

Merkel previously pointed to Zuckerberg’s firm in relation to the tension and violence.

She told the Rheinische Post earlier this month, ‘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 paroles’.

Germany has much stricter freedom of speech laws than many tech companies’ home in the United States, such as bans on Nazi symbols and other signs associated with unconstitutional groups.

Facebook has agreed to move its German site into greater announced that is was partnering with the German group Voluntary Self-Monitoring of Multimedia Service Providers and is telling those on the platform to report xenophobic speech.

The announcement came after Justice Minister Heiko Maas criticized the network for taking down indecent pictures such as nude photos but allegedly not doing enough about anti-immigrant posts even if they were reported, according to Reuters.

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