EU congratulates tech companies on removing hate speech

Jack Wilkinson

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Tech companies, such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook, have taken much of the flak for online hate speech messages. Governments around the world, particularly the EU and the UK, have accused tech companies of not doing enough to combat hate speech on their respective services and platforms (via BBC).

Since joining a voluntary Code of Conduct, tech companies have begun removing more online hate speech, with an average of 70% of hate speech notifications being sent to the companies from NGOs and public bodies leading to removal of content, an increase from 28% in 2016 and 59% in May 2017.

The European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, praised the companies, saying:

Today’s results clearly show that online platforms take seriously their commitment to review notifications and remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours. I strongly encourage IT companies to improve transparency and feedback to users, in line with the guidance we published last year. It is also important that safeguards are in place to avoid over-removal and protect fundamental rights such as freedom of speech.

While the EU is praising the tech companies currently abiding by the Code of Conduct, the EU would like to make changes in the future, such as seeing more companies agree to follow the voluntary Code of Conduct, as well as getting the companies to work closer with law enforcement to catch offenders.

From now, Instagram and Google+ are also joining the Code of Conduct.