Google, Facebook, Twitter Sign E.U. Guidelines On Combating Hate Speech Online

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The European Commission has produced a guide on countering hate speech online.

The code of conduct, which requires companies to review the majority of flagged hate speech within 24 hours and remove it, if necessary, has been signed by internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google.

“This is a historic agreement that could not arrive at a better time,” said Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress. “We have seen a massive growth of online hate speech and incitement in recent years and it is very important that governments, law enforcement agencies and online companies work in tandem to make the internet a safer space for all.

“It has been demonstrated that many of those who have shed blood on the streets of Europe in recent years have been indoctrinated online, so hopefully this agreement can cut off a means of recruitment into extremist organizations.”

However, World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer voiced scepticism about the commitment of these firms to effectively police their platforms.

WJC CEO Robert Singer said: “YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and others already have clear guidelines in place aimed at preventing the spread of offensive content, yet they have so far utterly failed to properly implement their own rules.

Mr Singer recently wrote to Google Inc., which owns the world’s largest online video service YouTube, to complain about the persistent failure of YouTube to delete neo-Nazi songs that glorify the Holocaust or incite to murder from its platform.

“Tens of thousands of despicable video clips continue to be made available although their existence has been reported to YouTube and despite the fact that they are in clear violation of the platform’s own guidelines prohibiting racist hate speech.

“Nonetheless, YouTube gives the impression that it has been cracking down on such content. Alas, the reality is that so far, it hasn’t. We expect that real steps are taken by YouTube, as well as other social media platforms, that go beyond well-meaning announcements,” said Mr Singer.