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EU Demanding U.S. Tech Firms Do More to Remove Online Hate Speech

European Commission photo

The European Commission has put U.S. tech companies Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google-owned YouTube on notice: Clean up the hate speech on your platforms or face some stringent new laws.

The European Union agency’s warning comes some seven months after the companies agreed to support a new code of conduct drafted by the European Union to help curb the spread of online abuse via social media. As part of the agreement, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are responsible for developing internal procedures and training staff to ensure all valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech are dealt with in less than 24 hours.

The four IT companies were also to forge stronger partnerships with civil society organizations, who in turn, would help flag content that advocates for violence and hateful behaviors.

The European Commission, however, does not believe the companies have made enough headway on the matter. To that end, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has commissioned a report that apparently says progress in removing offensive content has been too slow. The report is to be released later this week.

“In practice the companies take longer and do not yet achieve this goal. They only reviewed 40 percent of the recorded cases in less than 24 hours,” a Commission official told Reuters. “After 48 hours, the figure is more than 80 percent. This shows that the target can realistically be achieved, but this will need much stronger efforts by the IT companies.”

Because of this, the Commission is considering the implementation of laws to force swifter action.

“If Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft want to convince me and the ministers that the non-legislative approach can work, they will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months,” Jourova told the Financial Times.“…social media companies need to live up to their important role and take up their share of responsibility when it comes to phenomena like online radicalisation, illegal hate speech or fake news.”

EU justice ministers are to meet in Brussels Thursday to discuss the report.

The code of conduct came into being in response to the rampant hate speech used by terrorist groups in a bid to radicalize young people as well as the derogatory comments being posted about refugees.

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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  • It is really important for all the social media websites to remove the hate speech because somehow it plays very important role in changing the mind of the users and diverting their mind. It should be changed as soon as possible. Thank you for sharing it.