EU Demands Facebook, Twitter Deal With Hate Speech

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others still aren't adequately addressing the problem of online hate speech, claims the European Commission. Those companies need to more effectively deal with hate speech soon. If they don't, new legislation may be enacted to force them into compliance.

EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova commissioned a study to see how they've complied with a voluntary code of conduct introduced earlier in 2016. The study found Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Microsoft haven't combated hate speech to the degree laid out in the code.

There are a few ways companies could be pressured into more aggressively removing hate speech. For example, German justice minister Heiko Maas recently said Facebook should be classified as a media company, thereby making it liable for any hate speech on the platform.

The major tech companies who agreed to the code said they would review and respond to the "majority" of hate speech complaints within 24 hours. According to the study, just 40% of incidents are being reviewed in that time frame. By the 48-hour mark, 80% of complaints are reviewed.

This shows that the target can realistically be achieved, but this will need much stronger efforts by the IT companies. - European Commission

YouTube is currently the slowest to respond to complaints and Twitter is the fastest.

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