Facebook will have to abide by German laws banning racist sentiment even if it might be allowed in the United States under freedom of speech, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in an interview with Reuters.
Maas, who has accused Facebook of doing too little to thwart racist and hate posts on its social media platform, said that Germany has zero tolerance for such expression and expects the U.S.-based company to be more vigilant.
"One thing is clear: if Facebook wants to do business in Germany, then it must abide by German laws," Maas told Reuters. "It doesn't matter that we, because of historical reasons, have a stricter interpretation of freedom of speech than the United States does."
"Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred are crimes in Germany and it doesn't matter if they're posted on Facebook or uttered out in the public on the market square," he added.
Maas sent a letter to Facebook public policy director Richard Allan in Dublin saying he received many complaints from users that their protests on racist posts have been ignored. He suggested meeting in Berlin on Sept. 14.