In the last few weeks, the world has shifted its focus towards the European migrants & refugee crisis. Scores of people fleeing conflict and terror group ISIS from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have taken the dangerous journey through land and sea as they seek better and safer places to live. The migrant crisis has also been activated by economic refugees mainly from Africa seeking to move to Europe in search of better livelihoods and sources of income.
Germany being the largest economy in Europe has decided to take in 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers. The nation has for the longest time grappled with slow population growth rate and sees this influx as a remedy to labour shortages affecting the economy. Naturally, not everyone accepts the refugees whose high number is reminiscent of the post World War 2 period. Some German residents have taken to social networking sites spewing vitriol on the issue.
This saw German Chancellor ask Facebook, the largest social networking site to enforce strict measures against the posting of xenophobic messages on its platform. The social networking site has responded by partnering with the German internet watchdog and other organization in monitoring efforts of these outbursts. Facebook said it has measures against such posts but acknowledged its systems are not purely 100%. Posts found to contain hate speech, border incitement or contain threats will be removed from the site with authorities engaged to pursue the perpetrators.
Of interest to note is that Germany recently ordered Facebook to allow users to use nicknames as their usernames. In a ruling in July, The Hamburg data protection authority said that forcing Facebook users to stick to their real names amounted to violation of their rights to privacy. In addition, the authority ruled that Facebook cannot change user’s usernames to their real names or even demand to see the government IDS. The ruling thus allowed Facebook users to use pseudonyms. This may serve as in impediment but still more needs to be done to reign in on the hate online.