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.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

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

Statement on the Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission asks online platforms to provide more details on progress made

UN working to prevent attacks on civilians in eastern DR Congo

Trump systematically upsets global order and trade: Where does this end?

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

Violence on the rise in Darfur following Sudan military takeover, but UN-AU peacekeeping mission maintains ‘robust posture’

This company is breeding millions of insects in the heart of London

People, not technology, shape the future of manufacturing

Women-Friendly Spaces for Rohingya refugees: A place for protection and care

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

Energy Union: EU’s effort towards a cleaner climate with integrated energy market

Fertilisers/cadmium: Parliament and Council negotiators reach provisional deal

Yemen war: UN chief urges good faith as ‘milestone’ talks get underway in Sweden

Trump beats Clinton but Americans will learn the hard way that the US can’t change with an election

These are New York Public Library’s 10 most borrowed books

EU Youth Conference in Riga concludes with recommendations for ministers

Fed, ECB take positions to face the next global financial crisis; the Brits uncovered

Hydrogen isn’t the fuel of the future. It’s already here

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

Palestinian Bedouin community faces demolition after Israeli court ruling, warns UN rights office

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Europe’s children urge leaders to commit to climate action at UN Climate Summit in Paris

3 reasons why Singapore is the smartest city in the world

Plants, the ‘core basis for life on Earth’, under increasing threat, warns UN food agency

Earth has more trees than it did 35 years ago – but there’s a huge catch

EP Brexit Steering Group calls on the UK to overcome the deadlock

Coronavirus: Macro-financial assistance agreement provides for €80 million disbursement to North Macedonia

This Belgian restaurant is following COVID rules using camper vans

Financial services are changing. Here’s how

Africa-Europe Alliance: Denmark provides €10 million for sustainable development under the EU External Investment Plan

Impressions of China

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Food for millions in Yemen at risk of rotting in key Red Sea port, warns UN

Commission takes further action to ensure professionals can fully benefit from the Single Market

Safer products: EP and Council close deal to beef up checks and inspections

UN rights chief bemoans unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, fearing ‘far-reaching implications’

MEPs back measures to reconcile career and private life

Commission disburses €8.5 billion under SURE to five Member States

This is what you need to know about the Iran nuclear deal

India is building a high-tech sustainable city from scratch

Children in crisis-torn eastern Ukraine ‘too terrified to learn’ amid spike in attacks on schools

The historic accomplishment of a seamless EU patent and intellectual property space

Humanitarian Aid 2016: The needs, the highlights, the crisis and the relief

Who really cares for the environment?

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

How to decarbonize shipping without spending billions

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

Implementation of EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: EU mobilises €663 million in humanitarian assistance

Gaza probe finds ‘reasonable grounds’ Israeli forces committed international human rights violations

To solve the climate crisis, we need an investment revolution

Invisibility outside the closet: health as a right for all

UN chief hails ‘positive developments’ towards ending political crisis in Bolivia

This is what emerging technologies mean for the future of infrastructure

Why support for Latin America’s early tech hubs is vital for the region

COVID-19 and the pursuit of financial inclusion in Pakistan

3+1 issues to haunt tomorrow’s EU Summit

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

Commission presents its response to Antisemitism and a survey showing Antisemitism is on the rise in the EU

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

EU-Turkey relations: Erdogan plays the refugee card while beefing up gas operations in the Eastern Mediterranean sea

New seat projections for the next European Parliament EU28

Wind farms now provide 14% of EU power – these countries are leading the way

More Stings?

Advertising

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