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Germany opens probe into 3 Facebook execs

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Photo: DPA.
17:59 CEST+02:00
Prosecutors in Hamburg said they have opened an investigation to determine whether to press charges against three Facebook managers over complaints alleging that the site facilitates incitement of hatred.

A complaint was filed by a lawyer in Bavaria against three Facebook Germany GmbH managers.

Though Facebook's European headquarters is in Ireland, the lawyer argues that without the advertising revenue that Facebook Germany GmbH generates, the website would not be able to fully operate in Germany.

"Facebook Germany GmbH therefore promotes the dissemination of inflammatory, criminal content through actions in Germany that start in the German business headquarters in Hamburg," the complaint states.

The lawyer, Chan-jo Jun, has pointed to in particular examples of hate speech and racism related to refugees, including posts that show Nazi symbols like swastikas and Hitler salutes, according to Die Welt.

Spokesperson for Hamburg's prosecutor's office Nana Frombach confirmed to DPA on Monday that her office had opened an investigation because the complaint had named concrete examples.

"Whether this results in a concrete suspicion of a criminal act, however, is still completely open," she said.

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Facebook has faced tough scrutiny in Germany for not doing enough to monitor hate speech on its network, particularly amid the refugee crisis. 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told Chancellor Angela Merkel recently that the company would do more to combat racist comments.

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