Companies ‘failing’ to address offline harm incited by online hate: UN expert

States and companies are “failing” when it comes to combating online hate, the UN independent rights expert, or Special Rapporteur, on freedom of speech and expression said on Monday, ahead of the launch of a landmark report to reinforce legal standards for internet spaces.

Cautioning that hate speech runs the risk of being devalued as a term, David Kaye stressed the real dangers posed by a lack of consistent policy when it comes to monitoring and stamping out hate speech in the digital age.

“The prevalence of online hate poses challenges to everyone, first and foremost the marginalised individuals who are its principal targets,” said Mr. Kaye, in the report to be presented to the UN General Assembly today.

“Unfortunately, States and companies are failing to prevent ‘hate speech’ from becoming the next ‘fake news’, an ambiguous and politicised term subject to governmental abuse and company discretion.”

UN experts addressed the scourge in an open letter last month, warning that hate speech, both online and offline has “exacerbated societal and racial tensions, inciting attacks with deadly consequences around the world” and highlighted the correlation between exposure to hate speech and number of crimes committed as a result.

The prevalence of online hate first and foremost challenges marginalized individuals, Mr. Kaye said. These individuals “are its principal targets.”

In June the Secretary-General put forth a new plan to identify and confront the growing scourge, which Mr. Guterres noted was launched at a time of a groundswell in xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism.

Moreover, “hateful and destructive views” are amplified “exponentially” through digital technology, he warned.

The UN Strategy and Plan of Action targets the root causes of hate speech – from violence, marginalization, discrimination and poverty, and advises bolstering weak national institutions.

Echoing the UN Chief, Mr. Kaye stressed that “online hate is no less harmful because it is online…To the contrary, online hate, with the speed of reach of its dissemination, can incite grave offline harm…The question is not whether to address such abuse. It is how to do so in a way that respects the rights everyone enjoys.”

Rooted in human rights

The Monday report urges States meet their obligations by rooting their efforts in rights’ treaties and international human rights law, in accordance with the UN Human Rights Committee, and the 2013 Rabat Plan of Action, a framework by the UN human rights office (OHCHR) which aims to clarify State obligations prohibiting incitement of hatred and discrimination.

New laws imposing liability on companies “are failing basic standards” Mr. Kaye said, and companies are not “taking seriously their responsibilities to respect human rights”, despite hate speech fermenting on their platforms.

The roadmap to tackling online hate in the new report also underscores the impact of leaving human rights best practices out of company culture.

“The human rights community has had a long-term conversation with social media and other companies in the Internet economy,” the independent expert said, “and yet the companies remain stubbornly committed to policies that fail to articulate their actions according to basic norms of human rights law.”

The landmark report comes at a time when social media giant Facebook, which owns other popular social platform, Instagram, has reportedly been pushed to address violent content spreading on its services, in addition to false news reports and disinformation, which has prompted discussion around the role of social media overall in the spread of hate messages.

“The companies’ failure to recognise their power and impact, and to value shareholders over public interest, must end immediately,” Kaye said. “This report gives the companies the tools to change course.”

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

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

The next EU President will first have to drink his tea at Downing Street

Black Panther’s ‘General Okoye’ joins the fight against gender-based violence

ECB’s Draghi favours a cheaper euro to serve all Eurozone countries

Do not confuse food charity with ‘right to food’, UN expert tells Italians, labelling food system exploitative

Artificial intelligence summit focuses on fighting hunger, climate crisis and transition to ‘smart sustainable cities’

How India is harnessing technology to lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Consumers suffer three defeats

‘Crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes’ and risk of new ethnic violence in DR Congo, warn UN experts

The vehicles of our future

South Sudan’s foreseen genocide: from “Never Again” to “Again and Again and Again”?

Women to save Europe’s own labour resources

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Monday’s Daily Brief: human rights in the Near East and a Forum for Refugees

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

Vaccine hesitancy: a pregnancy related issue?

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

UN chief appoints Luis Alfonso de Alba as Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit

Use space technology to build a better world for all, urges UN chief

These 3 countries are global offshore wind powerhouses

A Sting Exclusive: “The competitiveness of Europe depends on a digital single market”, EPP President Joseph Daul highlights live from European Business Summit 2015

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

UN chief welcomes new push by El Salvador’s political parties to begin fresh dialogue

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

Would you let an AI vote for you?

The EU adopted €297 million in concrete actions for refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon

The German automotive industry under the Trump spell

Relieving the suffering of dying: Home Palliative Care as a spiritual coping strategy

What can Darwin teach the aviation industry about cybersecurity?

Burned in the Amazonian forest: Your health may be in danger

MEPs demand Bulgaria’s and Romania’s swift accession to Schengen area

‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade

Stop violence against women: Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative

Nordic noir: The unhappiness epidemic affecting young people in the world’s happiest countries

Is the energy industry meeting its sustainability goals?

The European Sting Cookie Policy

The punishment gap: how workplace mistakes hurt women and minorities most

Why a cash-free future might not be as close as you think

UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

The hidden downsides of autonomous vehicles – and how to avoid them

Gaza blockade causes ‘near ten-fold increase’ in food dependency, says UN agency

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

A refugee from Syria cries out: “I’m not just a number!”

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

FROM THE FIELD: Persons with disabilities bike towards sustainability

Unemployment and immigrants haunt the EU; who can offer relief?

EU-China trade: closer ties as US-China trade battle brews

Amazon, a pair of shoes and my Data Privacy walks away

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

A poor kid died just now. Do you know why?

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

Discovering Europe: Free EU rail pass for 18 year olds

10 predictions for the global economy in 2019

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Libya civil war, African displacement, global trade tensions, terrorists’ children ‘secretly detained’, and more

Green deal for Europe: First reactions from MEPs

Three ways China can make the New Silk Road sustainable

In the age of the tourism backlash, we need ‘destination stewards’

MEPs vote for upgrade to rail passenger rights

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