Saturday

16th Dec 2017

Focus

MEPs attack Facebook over anti-gypsy hate groups

  • A Roma child: Facebook has been condemned for hosting anti-gypsy groups on its site (Photo: EUobserver)

Socialist deputies in the European Parliament have condemned Facebook, the popular social networking service, for hosting anti-gypsy groups on its site.

Facebook groups attacking Roma people and bearing such names as "Let's burn them all", "Turn gypsies into fuel" and "Useful work for gypsies: testers of gas chambers" have been roundly condemned by the Party of European Socialists.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

German MEP and Socialist group leader Martin Schulz said: "The existence of these groups is repulsive. I call upon Facebook to remove them immediately."

Mr Schultz highlighted seven such Facebook groups - all Italy-based - saying that "known fascist" organisations were behind them.

Nazi salutes appear as illustrations on some of the group webpages.

With Facebook, any user can set up a group that others can sign up to. Normally, groups bring together people with common interests or professions, or from the same town or who went to the same elementary school.

Political groups also make use of the Facebook feature. Both candidates for the US presidential race, Barack Obama and John McCain, had their own Facebook groups.

However, the company has repeatedly run into trouble for hosting groups that are considerably more unsavoury.

Last August, a cross-party assembly of members of parliament in the UK condemned the site for hosting four Facebook groups backing the fascist British National Party. The groups' webpages included images of Ku Klux Klan members posing with a sword under the caption "Local BNP meeting, blacks welcome" and called on people to "hang gollywogs" and to join to "help them fight evil and win the war of cleansing Britain."

Facebook has been loth to remove such groups, citing freedom of speech. Despite the UK campaign, and the subsequent decision by six corporations, including Vodafone and Virgin Media, to yank their advertising from the site when the groups were discovered, the social networking site to this day is still hosting them.

Speaking on Tuesday, the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the euro-deputy said: "It is shameful that on the day Europe marks the deaths of those who fell in war, Facebook is helping those who want to take us back to those dark days."

Backed by the leader of the Italian Socialists in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittell, Mr Schulz called on Facebook users to contact the company and demand they close down the groups.

Mr Pitelli, for his part, said it was "a day of shame for Facebook."

Opinion

Roma statelessness in Europe is not an accident

Roma people deserve a stronger voice in EU politics, often denied the very basics of human rights in Europe. A social media campaign under the hashtag #RomaBelong and a cross-party parliament group is demanding steps to end statelessness.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states