Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
In my home country Austria we live in strange times. In recent years in politics, a lot of hate is building up against refugees, and foreign residents. One of the main drivers of this trend is the far-right party FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party).
This is where Facebook comes in the equation. Besides a lot of nationalist-chauvinist, anti-islam hate-speech-pages being around on Facebook, there is one particular worrying one: The page one of the head of the FPÖ, Mr. HC Strache (https://www.facebook.com/HCStrache). What is especially disturbing are not his postings – he knows how to disguise hate-speech, after all he’s a politician – but the comments by the followers/visitors of his page. The amount of savagery in the slurs of many of these people is unbearable for every citizen who believes in the dignity and rights of humans.
Would a person utter these statements in public, lets say TV, newspaper or radio, some of them would even be worthy of criminal prosecution under Austrian criminal law. But not so on the internet, because of the sheer number of comments, and the too large effort that would have to be made.
Now many people I know or heard of, including myself, tried to flag these comments on basis of Facebook’s community standards regarding hate-speech. But success has so far been minimal. Often the response we get is simply that reviewers did not find the standards to be applicable.
If you want to see for yourself you can visit the website http://www.eaudestrache.at/ where activits highlight the madness, frustration and abomination against human rights and civil standards speaking from these comments by simply aggregating them and putting them on display in large bold fonts. (As most of them are not only written in German but in a bad style and/or hard to decode dialectal form I’m more than willing to assist in translating them for you.)
The famous philosopher and novelist Umberto Eco lately lamented in a public lecture that he fears that the internet is more and more becoming a platform for “legions of idiots who formerly only chatted in bars after a glas of wine without hurting the body politic.” Although I consider it a privilege to live in a world where so much information is available on my fingertips and I can connect with virtually anyone on the planet, when I look at the hate on the pages mentioned above that is self-referentially growing and becoming worse I fear that he’s got a case in point there.
I hope you or someone of your company can have a look at this and it will be taken as seriously as it should be.
Thank you. Sincerely,
PS. I will put this letter on my personal webpage http://www.diagoge.com for the public to read.