Zuckerberg Vows to Police Hate Speech in German Charm Offensive

  • Facebook CEO says no tolerance for hate posts against migrants
  • Zuckerberg calls German leadership on refugees `inspiring'

Facebook Inc.Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg vowed to rid his site of hate speech against migrants and lauded Germany’s leadership in the refugee crisis as part of an effort to win over those critical of the social media site’s handling of the matter.

“We’ve recognized how sensitive this is, especially with the migrant crisis here,” Zuckerberg said to thunderous applause at a town hall event in Berlin on Friday carried live on German cable news channels. “We hear the message loud and clear and we’re committed to doing better, there’s not a place for this kind of content on Facebook.”

Mark Zuckerberg in Berlin

Photographer: Frank Zauritz - Pool /Getty Images

Zuckerberg said about 200 people in Germany will police the site to remove racist posts, his clearest public remarks on the issue since Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government complained that the social network wasn’t doing enough to crack down on racists outbursts. Merkel herself had stepped up the pressure after the arrival of more than 1 million refugees last year in Germany prompted a surge in hate postings. The chancellor confronted Zuckerberg in September on the sidelines of a United Nations development summit in New York to ask how his company was progressing in curtailing those posts.

Zuckerberg met Thursday in Berlin with Peter Altmaier, Merkel’s chief of staff, who is in charge of managing the refugee influx. During his two-day visit, Zuckerberg also posted on Facebook his jog through the Brandenburg Gate, accepted an award sponsored by German publisher Axel Springer SE and donated computer servers to a local university.

"German leadership in the refugee crisis has been inspiring and is a model for the world,” Zuckerberg said. "It takes courage and humanity to realize that there are people out there who need a home, and building these kind of inclusive communities is ultimately going to be the best thing for the world. I hope that more countries follow Germany’s lead on this. I hope the U.S. follows Germany’s lead on this.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.