Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

Analysis

What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

The vote on von der Leyen showed the fundamental change in EU politics. The rise of the European Parliament, the power of political parties, and the fragmentation of politics, are new realities to be taken into account.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  2. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  3. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  4. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  5. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?
  6. EU commission has first-ever woman president
  7. Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'
  8. Von der Leyen's final appeal to secure top EU post

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us