For the past several days the Facebook social networking site has hosted an openly hateful, racist page in the Czech language called „We demand impunity for shooting gypsies“ (Požadujeme beztrestné vystřílení cikánů). On 11 April at 11:08 AM, news server Romea.cz published an article about the fact that according to communications with those who reported the page, Facebook did not find that it violated its „community principles“.
Three hours after the article was published on Romea.cz, the Facebook administrators re-evaluated their decision and closed this particular page. However, another page calling for the execution of the director of the ROMEA organization remains active on Facebook and most recently features a post threatening violence against three prominent Romani people: Jarmila Balážová, spokesperson for the Czech Human Rights Minister, journalist Tomáš Bystrý, and David Tišer, a Green Party candidate for the European Parliament.
„Kill them from birth“, „That’s why this PETITION to KILL these gypsy beasts WITH IMPUNITY!!!“ – these are just two examples of the status updates to be found on the now-defunct Facebook page, which had 120 fans. The posts to the page openly called for the killing of a specific ethnic group.
„We noticed the page practically right when it was created, which was 7 April. Racist and vulgar posts began showing up on our own Facebook page with the name of that page,“ Ryšavý told news server Romea.cz.
„We immediately reported the page and called on our supporters to do the same,“ Ryšavý said. Facebook automatically sent the following message to those who reported the page within just a few minutes of their having done so: „We have checked the page you reported as containing hateful language or symbols and determined that it does not violate our community principles.“
„The founder of the page, its fans, and the administrators of Facebook are violating the Czech criminal code and opening themselves up to the possibility of criminal prosecution and, in the case of the Facebook firm, to fines or possibly more serious repercussions. The question is why Facebook makes it possible for users to report hate pages if it is unwilling to do anything about them. Under the current state of affairs, Facebook is socially responsible for disseminating hatred and prejudice on the territory of the Czech Republic. I presume that the responsibility for not closing this page lies with the Czech administrators. The American management of Facebook actively guards against such manifestations of hatred,“ lawyer Klára Klaibová of the In IUSTITIA organization said prior to the page being closed.
Two mobile phone contact numbers were listed in the description of the now-closed page, apparently with the aim of harming the reputation of a person who did not establish the page. According to information obtained by news server Romea.cz, the owner of the numbers has filed a criminal report over their publication already.
This particular page is not unique. For years it has been customary for Czech-language pages with hateful and racist content targeting specific individuals to be featured on the social networking site.
One such page still features a call for the public execution of the director of the ROMEA organization, Zdeněk Ryšavý. „I filed a criminal report about that at the start of March. No one from the police has contacted me yet, but I believe someone is looking into it,“ he said.