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Social media platforms improve action against hate speech

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Social media platforms improve action against hate speech

Social media

(BRUSSELS) - Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have improved action on countering illegal hate speech online, says an EU Commission report, but better transparency and user feedback is still needed.

Releasing the results of its fifth evaluation of the 2016 Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online, the EU executive reports that the results are positive overall, with IT companies assessing 90% of flagged content within 24 hours and removing 71% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech.

However, the platforms need to further improve transparency and feedback to users, says the Commission, and they also have to ensure that flagged content is evaluated consistently over time; separate and comparable evaluations carried out over different time periods showed divergences in performance.

The Code of conduct is a success story when it comes to countering illegal hate speech online, said Vera Jourova, EC vice-president for Values and Transparency: "Now the time is ripe to ensure that all platforms have the same obligations across the entire Single Market and clarify in legislation the platforms' responsibilities to make users safer online. What is illegal offline remains illegal online."

The fifth evaluation shows that, on average:

  • 90% of flagged content was assessed by the platforms within 24 hours, whereas it was only 40% of contents in 2016.
  • 71% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech was removed in 2020, whereas only 28% of content were removed in 2016.
  • The average removal rate, similar to the one recorded in the previous evaluations, shows that platforms continue to respect freedom of expression and avoid removing content that may not qualify as illegal hate speech.
  • Platforms responded and gave feedback to 67.1 % of the notifications received. This is higher than in the previous monitoring exercise (65.4%). However, only Facebook informs users systematically; all the other platforms have to make improvements.
Fifth evaluation of the Code of Conduct countering 
illegal hate speech - background guide

Factsheet with key figures on the fifth monitoring of the Code of Conduct


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