European Union Hasten Social Media Companies On Removal Of Online Hate Speech


New EU figures shows that social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube have accelerated removals of online hate speech, reviewing more than two-thirds of complaints within 24 hours.

The EU has piled pressure on social media companies to increase their efforts to fight the proliferation of extremist content and hate speech on their platforms, even threatening them with legislation.

Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube signed a code of conduct with the EU in May 2016 to review most complaints within a 24-hour timeframe and Instagram will also sign up to the code, the European Commission said.

The companies managed to review complaints within a day in 81 percent of cases, EU figures released on Friday show, compared with 51 percent in May 2017 when the Commission last monitored compliance with the code of conduct.

On average, the companies removed 70 percent of the content flagged to them, up from 59.2 percent in May 2017.

EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, has said that she does not want to see a 100 percent removal rate because that could impinge on free speech. She also said she is not in favour of legislating as Germany has done.

A law providing for fines of up to 50 million euros (61.4 million dollars) for social media companies that do not remove hate speech quickly enough went into force in Germany this year.

Jourova said the results unveiled on Friday made it less likely that she would push for legislation on the removal of illegal hate speech.

Facebook reviewed complaints in less than 24 hours in 89.3 percent of cases, YouTube in 62.7 percent of cases and Twitter in 80.2 percent of cases.

Of the hate speech flagged to the companies, almost half of it was found on Facebook, the figures show, while 24 percent was on YouTube and 26 percent on Twitter.




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