Over 80 percent of content flagged as illegal hate speech is now removed by Facebook and Youtube, a new European Commission report shows. Twitter was the straggler, removing approximately half the amount, 42.5 percent, through 2018.
The findings come in an update on the EU Code of Conduct, a voluntary agreement with Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, French gaming platform Webedia, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Dailymotion signed up to the agreement in 2018.
With the companies all rapidly ramping up the percentage of hate speech notifications they assess within 24 hours, progress was welcomed by the European Commission. (The scheme has now been live of two and half years).
EU Code of Conduct: Social Media Gets Snappy with Hate Speech Removal…
IT companies are now assessing 89 percent of flagged content within 24 hours and 72 percent of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech is removed, compared to 40 percent and 28 percent respectively when the Code was first launched in 2016.
Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said:“Illegal hate speech online is not only a crime, it represents a threat to free speech and democratic engagement. In May 2016, I initiated the Code of conduct on online hate speech, because we urgently needed to do something about this phenomenon.”
“Today, after two and a half years, we can say that we found the right approach and established a standard throughout Europe on how to tackle this serious issue, while fully protecting freedom of speech.”
Illegal hate speech is defined in EU law under the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law as the public incitement to violence or hatred directed to groups or individuals on the basis of certain characteristics, including race, colour, religion, descent and national or ethnic origin.
The EU Code of Conduct not a legal document and does not give governments the right to take down content. The Code cannot be used to make these IT companies take down content that does not count as illegal hate speech, or any type of speech that is protected by the right to freedom of expression set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.