Tech giants in conjunction with European Union are taking a stand to fight hate speech. Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and Facebook have launched "code of conduct" aimed at fighting racism and xenophobia across Europe
. The companies aren't legally obligated, but have agreed to "public commitments" to review the "majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech" in less than 24 hours, and make it easier for law enforcement in Europe to notify the firms directly. From a TechCrunch report: Tech companies will have to find the right balance between freedom of expression and hateful content. Based on the code of conduct, they'll have dedicated teams reviewing flagged items (poor employees who will have to review awful things every day). Tech companies will also educate their users and tell them that it's forbidden to post hateful content. They'll cooperate with each other to share best practice. They'll encourage flagging of hateful content and they'll promote counter speech against hateful rhetoric. It's good to see that this issue got escalated and the European Commission was able to come up with a code of conduct quite quickly. Instead of making tech companies deal with every single European country, they can agree on rules for the EU as a whole.
"The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, wrote in the European Commission press release. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred. This agreement is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected."