How Europe is Holding Tech Giants, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter Accountable for Viral Hate Speech

Photo by Bloomberg / Contributor

The European Union’s European Commission unveiled a new code of conduct in Brussels designed to avoid the “spread of illegal hate speech,” according to THR.

Tech giants YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft pledged on Tuesday to combat hate speech in Europe by more promptly (within a twenty-four hour window) reviewing content with requests for removal and acting by either removing the content if found to be against guidelines or disabling access.

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The companies “support the European Commission and EU member states in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally” said a joint statement from the EU and tech giants. “They share, together with other platforms and social media companies, a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world.”

The companies have also promised to educate and raise awareness about prohibited content under the rules and guidelines, communicating best practices amongst each other.

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"The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," said Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner for justice, consumers, and gender equality. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people and racists use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the Internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected."

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