Slow progress against illegal hate speech online

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Slow progress against illegal hate speech online
Image: Pixabay

EU Code of Conduct against illegal hate speech online: results remain positive but progress slows down.

European Commission has released the results of its sixth evaluation of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online.

The results show a mixed picture as IT companies reviewed 81 per cent of the notifications within 24 hours and removed an average of 62.5 per cent of flagged content. The results are lower than the average recorded in 2019 and 2020. While some companies have improved, results for others have clearly worsened.

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As in previous monitoring rounds, a main weakness remains insufficient feedback to users’ notifications. Finally, a novelty in this year’s evaluation is the information provided by IT companies about measures they have taken to counter hate speech, including actions to automatically detect such content.

Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: “Hate speech online can lead to real harm offline. Violence often starts with words. Our unique Code has brought good results but the platforms cannot let the guard down and need to address the gaps. And gentlemen agreement alone will not suffice here. The Digital Services Act will provide strong regulatory tools to fight against illegal hate speech online.”

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, added: “The results show that IT companies cannot be complacent: just because the results were very good in the last years, they cannot take their task less seriously. They have to address any downward trend without delay. It is matter of protecting a democratic space and fundamental rights of all users. I trust that a swift adoption of the Digital Services Act will also help solving some of the persisting gaps, such as the insufficient transparency and feedback to users.”



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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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