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The Netherlands Is Number One For Hate Speech On Facebook

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Number One For Hate Speech On Facebook

We all know the things that the Dutch are famous for including some of the following:

  • Tolerance
  • Most bikes per capita in Europe
  • Happiest children in the world

So the news that the Dutch are the number one when it comes to hate speech on Facebook certainly came as a surprise to no one familiar with the tendency of some Dutch people to be “direct” when it comes to discussing race issues on social media.

Surely there’s been some mistake?

The Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant interviewed a former Facebook moderator. This individual is Dutch and worked as part of the Facebook moderation team in Berlin. He was part of a team dealing with complaints reported to Facebook in the Netherlands, Flanders and Surinam. Apart from the interview, leaked emails and documents were shared with de Volkskrant along with another member of the team who also confirmed the story about the leadership held by Facebook users in the Netherlands for hate speech.

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The Netherlands Number one again

The Facebook moderation team for the Netherlands and Dutch spoken regions had to deal with over 8,000 reports a day including discriminatory, racist and hate-filled posts by social media users. Significantly more than the number of posts reported to moderators from other European countries.

Incredibly, in spite of claims that neither Zwarte Piet nor the political party of Geert Wilders, the PVV are racist, the number of complaints about hate speech comments on Facebook dramatically increase during the Sinterklaas season or whenever the PVV holds a demonstration.

Ik schrok daarvan.’ De intense haat, tegen asielzoekers, Marokkaanse Nederlanders, zwarte mensen. Erik: ‘En alles in Nederland is kanker. Kankerjongen, kankerneger, kankerhoer.’ In Vlaanderen krijgen de ‘makakken’ de schuld, in Nederland de ‘Marokkanen”

I was shocked by the intense hatred against asylum seekers, Moroccan Dutch citizens, black people. Erik: “And everything in the Netherlands is cancer. Canceryouth, cancernigger, cancerwhore.” In Flanders the ‘makakken’ get the blame, in the Netherlands it’s the Moroccans.

Source: De Volkskrant

hate speech on Facebook
The sight of a Dutch woman being harassed by a black man probably contributed to the hate speech on Dutch social media

Facebook moderation guidelines

According to the former Facebook moderator, the guidelines for what constitutes hate speech on the platform are quite broad. So for example, if someone posts a photo of a black person and says “lazy black” that’s actually ok. If however, someone posts the same photo with the comment “all blacks are lazy” then that’s against their guidelines. Some groups, such as women, Jewish people, Ghanaian women and transgenders are in a protected category which means that action can be taken against people making negative comments about people from this group.

confused looking Zwarte Piet
Dutch hate speech? Kankerexpats!

Reasons for the sheer volume of hate speech comments

Explanation one

No doubt some will say that calling someone a ‘kankerneger’ or ‘cancer Moroccan’ is absolutely fine and can’t be racist if the intent isn’t to offend. Who knows? Perhaps some people are simply too sensitive and too quick to ‘play the victim’. It could be that the problem isn’t the content of the so-called hate speech posts on Facebook but over sensitive left-wingers and ‘newcomers’ who simply are not integrated enough in Dutch society to appreciate this form of Dutch directness.

Explanation two

Could the cause of the huge amounts of hate speech on Dutch Facebook pages simply be down to the fact that there are quite simply a lot of racists living in the Netherlands? I mean if something looks like a chicken, walks like a chicken and tastes like chicken, it might actually be a chicken. That coupled with a toxic kind of passive-aggressiveness could actually be the cause of the huge volumes of hate speech. But hey, this can’t be correct as everyone knows that no Dutch person in the history of the Kingdom has ever been racist so explanation one is probably closer to the truth.

No passive aggressive racists hiding behind keyboards were hurt during the writing of this post.

hate speech on Facebook keyboard photo
To save time, keyboards sold in the Netherlands will come with a ‘hate speech’ button

 

 

 

About Simon Woolcot

Infamous blogger, annoyance and self-confessed Shallow Man. Simon is a British expat who has lived in Amsterdam since 2004. As well as writing this blog, Simon also has a YouTube channel of the same name, writes and directs videos and hosts seminars about life in the Netherlands. He also works as a content marketing and SEO specialist.

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