Facebook to combat online extremism in Europe

Facebook has announced that it will join efforts with European partners in order to combat online extremism. Facebook’s partners in this venture are the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence.

Facebook says that it will spend one million Euros to support these non-government initiatives to combat extreme speech on the internet.

"Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence. With this new initiative, we can better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet," said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, while announcing the initiative in Berlin.

The venture is called the "Online Civil Courage Initiative" and although it is based in Berlin and supported by the German ministry of justice and consumer protection, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that it will be the London-based think tank the Institute for Strategic Dialogue leading the initiative.

Surprisingly, it was only last November, that German prosecutors launched an investigation aimed at the European head of Facebook, over the companies failure to remove racist hate speech from the Facebook site.

However now Facebook has declared its intentions on the Facebook home page of the Online Civil Courage Initiative by stating: "Take a moment to share your story or idea supporting counter speech, with the goal of combating online extremism and hate speech.

"In order to make change, everyone needs to feel empowered to share their voice and exercise civil courage."

Photo credit: JuliusKielaitis / Shutterstock