German officials have blamed “fake news” on social media for helping fuel right-wing violence in the eastern German city of Chemnitz over the past two days.
“We have to acknowledge that mobilization on the internet was stronger than in the past,” said Michael Kretschmer, state premier of Saxony, where the violence took place.
The death of a 35-year-old German man in the early hours of Sunday – allegedly at the hands of two asylum seekers from Iraq and Syria – has sparked two days of protests that were partially fueled by the false claim the victim had intervened to protect a woman.
The claim had been disseminated mainly by right-wing groups and the organizer of the rally Pro Chemnitz on social media but was later declared by police to be false.
Kretschmer said the subsequent anger “was based on xenophobic comments, false information and conspiracy theories … it was based on fake news.”