Facebook, Twitter and Google Pledge to Fight Against Hate Speech in EU

Ask Dave Taylor
Hate speech is a big problem on social media, one that is constantly up for discussion. No matter what you do, there is no way stop people being hateful or spreading messages that they shouldn't. The EU is trying to tackle this problem by producing a new code of conduct that requires any hateful or terrorism content to be reviewed within 24 hours of it being posted. Regulations also require the service to identify independent counter-narratives to hate speech and propaganda posted online.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, and even Microsoft have agreed to follow the regulations. Prior to this, these companies had agreed to delete such content within 24 hours of posting in Germany. This is the first unified EU policy on hate speech that extends to all countries. In response to the terrorist attacks spreading across the continent, this regulation is meant to address the problem from another angle.

It's kind of sad that hate speech is only being tackled because of terrorism. People should be free to talk about and believe what they want without fear of being verbally attacked over it. Hopefully, the positive outcomes of this legislation will help minimize rampant verbal abuse as well as discourage terrorism.

The only problem with these regulations is that it puts the tech companies in a difficult position. Twitter is always going on about allowing its users free speech. They do have a point; sometimes it can be difficult to police what is hateful and what is a disagreeable comment. Some of the posts on Twitter might be offensive, but not all of those posts need to be removed. Each company that has signed has systems that will flag any questionable messages which need to be deleted. With such a system there is a large margin for error, for example deleting the wrong thing or missing messages. It's not going to be perfect and they won't be able to delete everything but, hopefully, awkwardness aside, this policy could really help.

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