Countering illegal hate speech online – EU Code of Conduct ensures swift response

London protest

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


The fourth evaluation on the EU Code of Conduct shows that this Commission initiative delivers successful results.

IT companies are now assessing 89% of flagged content within 24 hours and 72% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech is removed, compared to 40% and 28% respectively when the Code was first launched in 2016. However,  companies need to improve their feedback to users.

Andrus Ansip, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market said: “Today’s evaluation shows that cooperation with companies and civil society brings results. Companies are now assessing 89% of flagged content within 24 hours, and promptly act to remove it when necessary. This is more than twice as much as compared to 2016. More importantly, the Code works because it respects freedom of expression. The internet is a place people go to share their views and find out information at the click of a button. Nobody should feel unsafe or threatened due to illegal hateful content remaining online.”

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. ”

Since its launch in 2016, the Code of Conduct has been delivering continuous progress, and the recent evaluation confirms that IT companies provide a swift response to racist and xenophobic hate speech content notified to them. However, they need to improve their feedback to the users notifying content and provide more transparency on notices and removals.

Companies remove illegal content more and more rapidly, but this does not lead to over-removal: the removal rate indicates that the review made by the companies continues to respect freedom of expression. Furthermore, thanks to the Code, partnerships between civil society organisations, national authorities and the IT platforms have been established on awareness raising and education activities.

Finally, four new companies decided to join the Code in the course of 2018: Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Dailymotion. Today, the French gaming platform Webedia (jeuxvideo.com) has also announced their participation.

Background

The Framework Decision on Combatting Racism and Xenophobia criminalises the public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. Hate speech as defined in this Framework Decision is a criminal offence also when it occurs online.

The EU, its Member States, social media companies and other platforms, all share a collective responsibility to promote and facilitate freedom of expression in the online world. At the same time, all these actors have a responsibility to ensure that the internet does not become a free haven for violence and hatred.

To respond to the proliferation of racist and xenophobic hate speech online, the European Commission and four major IT companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube) presented a “Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online” in May 2016.

On 7 December 2016, the European Commission presented the results of a first monitoring exercise to evaluate the implementation of the Code of Conduct. The results of the second and third monitoring round released on 1 June 2017 and on 19 January 2018 showed continued progress.

On 28 September 2017, the Commission adopted a Communication, which provides for guidance to platforms on notice-and-action procedures to tackle illegal content online. The importance of countering illegal hate speech online and the need to continue working with the implementation of the Code of Conduct feature prominently in this guidance document.

A Commission Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online was published on 1 March 2018. It contains two parts, a general part on measures applicable to all types of illegal content and a specific part addressing the special actions that platforms would need to take to address terrorist content. In terms of the rules applicable to all types of illegal content the recommendation includes clearer ‘notice and action’ procedures, more efficient tools and proactive technologies, stronger safeguards to ensure fundamental rights, special attention to small companies and closer cooperation with authorities.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

To my Chinese friend

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

An open letter from business to world leaders: “Be ambitious, and together we can address climate change”

THE COMMITTEES: From the colonies to the space race – past, present, future converge in Fourth Committee

Inegalitarian taxation on labour haunts Europe’s social model

Postal workers in France are helping elderly people fight loneliness

Eurozone banks to separate risky activities: Can they stay afloat?

Joint advocacy letter template to sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Water supply a human right but Greeks to lose their functioning utilities

Lack of involvement, or lack of opportunities?

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

FROM THE FIELD: A UN peacekeepers-eye view of DR Congo

Libya: ‘Substantial civilian casualties’ in Derna, UN humanitarian chief ‘deeply concerned’

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

What can stop the ‘too big to fail’ bankers from terrorising the world?

The European Parliament double-checks the EU 2014-2020 budget

Job automation risks vary widely across different regions within countries

Want a more inclusive society? Start with mobility

New chapters in EU-China trade disputes

UN urges ‘restraint’ in Bangladesh’s post-presidential election violence

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

A Sting Exclusive: “China-Africa Cooperation Sets a Fine Example of South-South Cooperation”, by China’s Ambassador to EU

Why do medical students have to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Young people meet in Malta to shape the future of Europe

UN agency chief calls Ethiopia’s revised refugee law ‘one of most progressive’ in Africa

Draghi tells the Parliament the ECB to use all its weaponry; euro slides to parity with the dollar

Canada and EU officially sign the trade agreement that could open-up the road to TTIP

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

These charts show where the world’s refugees came from in 2017 – and where they’re heading

Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

Why we need both science and humanities for a Fourth Industrial Revolution education

Better care, stronger laws needed to save 30 million babies on the brink of death

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

Commission goes less than mid-way on expensive euro

Is ECB helping Germany to buy cheaply the rest of Europe?

TTIP is not dead as of yet, the 15th round of negotiations in New York shouts

Can Greece’s devastating economy deal with the migration crisis?

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

EU lawmakers vote to reintroduce visas for Americans over “reciprocity principle”

“Access denied”: the Greek health system under pressure

UN chief condemns killing of ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo, as violence erupts prior to elections

MWC 2016 LIVE: EC adds Brazil to partner tally

Some Prevailing Arguments and Perceptions over the South China Sea Issue Are Simply Wrong

The representatives of the regions and the cities know better what the EU needs on migration, trade, poverty and taxation

Climate Change: a challenge yet to be tackled in medical schools

A Sting Exclusive: “Seize the opportunity offered by Africa’s continental free trade area”, written by the Director General of UNIDO

Climate change will never be combatted by EU alone while some G20 countries keep procrastinating

Guinea-Bissau: Upcoming elections vital to prevent ‘relapse’ into instability, says UN envoy

This is the world’s greenest football club – and you’ve probably never even heard of it

EU to increase spending and improve delivery of education in emergencies and protracted crises

Deal on protecting workers from exposure to harmful substances

From diamonds to recycling: how blockchain can drive responsible and ethical businesses

“Health and environment first of all”, EU says with forced optimism after 7th round of TTIP talks

‘12 million’ stateless people globally, warns UNHCR chief in call to States for decisive action

Bid to raise $5.5 billion for millions of Syrians and their host communities

EU members commit to build an integrated gas market and finally cut dependency on Russia

The ECB still protects the banks at the expense of the EU taxpayers

The way to entrepreneurship in the developing world

A Europe that delivers: EU citizens expect more EU level action in future

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s