German police said to raid homes over online hate speech

The raids targeted people accused of posting threats, coercion and incitement to racism on social media, reports The New York Times.

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German police raided 36 homes over posts on social media.

Sergei Konkov\TASS via Getty Images

Germany is serious about cracking down on hate speech on social media.

German police on Tuesday raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings on social media, reported The New York Times. The posts reportedly included "threats, coercion and incitement to racism."

The raids, performed by officers for Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office, mostly targeted people accused of political right-wing incitement but also included two people accused of left-wing extremism and one person accused of making threats based on a person's sexual orientation.

The Federal Criminal Police Office and Germany's Federal Ministry of the Interior didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action," said Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, according to the Times. "Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence and violence either on the street or on the internet."

In April, Germany's cabinet approved strict new standards that would force social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to regulate fake news and hate speech. The draft law calls for sites to delete at least 70 percent of inappropriate and illegal posts within 24 hours of their postings. If they fail to comply, they could be fined as much as €50 million ($53 million). The draft law is now being debated by German officials.