THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC) has taken time out of chuckling about Brexit to commend Facebook for its efforts in tackling hate speech after it came to an agreement with it and Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube last year.
All four firms have done their bit, according to the EC, and have made moves to limit the kind of terror talk that keeps people awake at night. Facebook has done the best though and is the only firm to fully comply with the code of conduct.
Things have gone well, and according to Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice for Consumers and Gender Equality, over 50 per cent of identified hateful material was removed by the companies. This is an improvement, but as readers may recall from their school reports, there is always room for more improvement.
"The results of our second evaluation of the Code of Conduct are encouraging. The companies are now removing twice as many cases of illegal hate speech and at a faster rate when compared to six months ago. This is an important step in the right direction and shows that a self-regulatory approach can work, if all actors do their part," said Jourová.
"At the same time, companies carry a great responsibility and need to make further progress to deliver on all the commitments. For me, it is also important that the IT companies provide better feed-back to those who notified cases of illegal hate speech content."
Things could move a bit faster too. Only around 40 per cent of issues are investigated in the first 24 hours, and only 28 per cent of content is removed. Facebook is the only company that is credited with reviewing the majority of notifications within the day and the only one to send systematic responses out to complaints. So at least it is doing something right.
"Working closely with the private sector and civil society to fight illegal hate speech brings results, and we will redouble our joint efforts. We are now working to ensure closer coordination between the different initiatives and forums that we have launched with online platforms," added Andrus Ansip, European Commission VP for the digital single market.
"We will also bring more clarity to notice and action procedures to remove illegal content in an efficient way - while preserving freedom of speech, which is essential."
Everyone needs to pull together then to properly stamp out hate speech so let's all please try not to act like utter covfefes online. µ
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