Number of Dutch hate-filled posts on Facebook remarkably high: report

facebook Spencer E Holtaway Flickr

Dutch Facebook users provide a remarkably large stream of posts containing hate, racism, an wishes for someone to get a disease like cancer. The number of such posts coming from southern European countries, for example, is much lower, the Volkskrant reports based on its own research.

The newspaper based its report on an anonymous interview with a Dutch man who worked for Facebook as moderator in Berlin last year, leaked emails, internal documents, and a colleague who supported his story. A Dutch team, which varies from five to eight people, works as Facebook moderators in Berlin.

Everyday the Dutch team receives around 8 thousand reports about Dutch Facebook posts containing discrimination, racism and hate, among other things. This number increases significantly around events like the Sinterklaas celebration, elections and demonstrations by anti-Islam party PVV, according to the newspaper. The Dutch moderator told the newspaper that he and his colleagues use medicine and alcohol so they can handle the vicious content in the posts they see. 

Last year the Dutch team of moderators was understaffed for a long period, according to the Volkskrant. This resulted in a large number of reports remaining in the queue and not being assessed, including reports about posts mentioning suicide and sexual abuse. Greek moderators, who had little to do with posts from their country, helped to reduce the backlog.

In a response Facebook told the Volkskrant that "the spreading of hatred is a global issue". The company also said that it takes very good care of its staff in Berlin. "We realize that their work is often difficult." Facebook recently expanded its psychological assistance to moderators. "We offer help where necessary", the social media company said. "We will shortly complete a psychological risk analysis to see where more support is needed."


Related stories