An online petition is urging the UK Government to force Facebook to delete “hate speech” within 24 hours, after tech giants agreed to a similar request made in Germany.

An online petition is urging the UK Government to force Facebook to delete “hate speech” within 24 hours, after tech giants agreed to a similar request made in Germany.

An online petition is urging the UK Government to force Facebook to delete “hate speech” within 24 hours, after tech giants agreed to a similar request made in Germany.

The initiative is part of a wider effort to protect racial and religious minorities from online hate, with growing pressure on companies to act.

“Even a casual user of the social network site Facebook will have witnessed the all-pervasive, and increasing, number of pages and comments that contain the most abhorrent hate speech imaginable,” read the petition.

“The UK Government has a duty to protect minorities from online hate and must attempt the same deal.”

It comes after the success of German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, whose December request led to him gaining agreement from Facebook, Google and Twitter to remove offensive race-related material within a day of it being posted online.

“When the limits of free speech are trespassed, when it is about criminal expressions, sedition, incitement to carry out criminal offences that threaten people, such content has to be deleted from the net,” said Maas.

The agreement, under which “specialist teams” will assess reports of hate speech and delete it when appropriate, follows warnings from officials in Berlin, who raised concerns about a potential backlash against refugees fomenting online.

It is not clear how the firms’ specialist teams will deal with comments made outside Germany, but which can still be read by German users.

Sign the petition HERE