Insights European Commission and IT companies publish Code of Conduct on illegal online hate speech.

The Commission, together with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, have unveiled a Code of Conduct that includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe.

The IT companies say that they support the European Commission and EU Member States in the effort to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally.  They share, together with other platforms and social media companies, a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world.  However, they and the Commission recognise that the spread of illegal hate speech online not only negatively affects the groups or individuals that it targets, but also negatively impacts on those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination and has a chilling effect on democratic discourse on online platforms.

By signing this Code of Conduct, the IT companies commit to continuing their efforts to tackle illegal hate speech online.  This will include the continued development of internal procedures and staff training to guarantee that they review the majority of valid notifications for the removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.

The IT companies will also endeavour to strengthen their ongoing partnerships with civil society organisations who will help flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct.  The IT companies and the European Commission also aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives, and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.  To read the Commission’s press release, click here.