Earlier this year, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have signed an accord to remove hate speech from their platforms out of their own free will. However, several months later, the European Commission still does not see satisfactory results.
As a consequence, the officials say that they will soon force the social media giants to eradicate online hate speech. This decision comes as a direct result of Twitter and Facebook failing to implement strict measures that could prevent abusive messages from spreading.
The Social Media Accord’s Highlights
The accord that the giant social media companies have signed stipulates that they have to delete hateful posts on their platforms within 24 hours from publishing. Mainly because the European Commission was worried about the implications in regard to the refugee crisis in Europe.
In response, Facebook, Twitter, and other notable social media companies agreed to delete offensive comments in a certain time frame. Moreover, they even said that they will promote positive counter-narrative and collaborate with civil society groups.
However, only have a year months after the agreement has been signed, several reports indicate that the social media companies still don’t deliver on their end of the deal. In over 600 hate speech alerts, the European Commission says that only a few have been dealt with.
According to a European Commission official, the companies have only resolved only 40 percent of the cases within the 24-hours time frame. Furthermore, if the social media companies increase their efforts, the officials are sure that the internet could become a hate speech-free environment. The European Commission says that among all the large media companies, YouTube was the most efficient one. At the same time, Twitter had the slowest response time so far.
European Commission’s Statement
The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova declares that the social media companies have to put in more effort in order to convince. She also says that if the internet does not become a safer environment soon, the European Union will have to introduce strict legislation, forcing social media companies to take action.
“They will have to act quickly and make a strong effort in the coming months”, says Vera Jourova.
The action that the European Commission wants to take against hate speech is closely related to the post-election events. Right after the elections, fake news invaded the internet, throwing the online community into chaos. To make matters worse, several faux websites even made it to the front page of Google. Facebook has also suffered from the fake news phenomenon. According to recent press releases, the Facebook engineers are currently looking into the matter.
However, when it comes to hate speech, the report on abusive comments has registered 316 cases that required immediate action. However, only 163 cases were breaching community and legislation guidelines.