Nicolas Maeterlinck

Facebook refuses Verhofstadt’s request to remove Hungarian government’s video

The social media platform Facebook has told the former Belgian Prime Minister and current leader of the Liberal Group in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt that it will not remove a video from the Hungarian government that he claims has been “heavily manipulated”. The video has been viewed over six million times. 

In a letter Facebook’s head of EU affairs told Mr Verhofstadt that the clip does not breach the company’s community or advertising rules and could not be removed. The video was first uploaded in October by the Hungarian government. The 35-second clip denounces Mr Verhofstadt for saying the EU “needs migration”. The Flemish liberal claims that the clip has been taken out of context and has written two letters to Facebook officials to remove the clip after it appeared as “sponsored content” on the platform.

However, Facebook has told Mr Verhofstadt the clip does not constitute “disinformation” as it does “not include misleading advertising, reporting errors, satire and parody, or clearly identified partisan news and commentary”.

The letter goes on to say that “For these reasons, we do not have a basis to restrict this content on Facebook”, the letter was signed by Thomas Kristensen, managing director of EU Affairs for Facebook.

Facebook suggested that Mr Verhofstadt might “Wish to address this issue directly with the Hungarian government or through your own commentary on their content”.