Facebook COO Cheryl Sandberg launched the new Online Civil Courage Initiative (OCCI) from Berlin this week. The campaign is designed to respond to online extremism and hate speech.
Facebook has promised over a million euros ($1.09m) to financially support NGOs working against online extremism, the development of best practices, and other online services and tactics to help counter extremism and hate speech online.
“We have repeatedly emphasized that Facebook is no place for the dissemination of xenophobia, hate speech or calls for violence. With this new initiative, we are convinced to better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet,” Sandberg said in a press conference.
Facebook has faced repeated criticism in Europe for not doing enough to curtail or prevent online hate speech. Tensions have been steadily increasing as the migrant crisis in Europe has grown, and Facebook has become a dumping ground for everyone from venting frustrations to full-on xenophobic Facebook pages and groups.
Germany has ruled that social media sites must remove hate speech and develop plans for monitoring and reporting. Twitter and Google have also vowed to make their German sites hate speech–free within 24 hours.
While the OCCI is, for now, focused on Germany, the initiative is likely to spread throughout Europe and elsewhere worldwide.