EU blames tech giants for slow response to tackling hate speech


After it was found that fake news on Facebook heavily impacted the US elections and how extremist cells were using Twitter to lure in new recruits, the European Commission has been monitoring the progress Tech giants are making to ensure the safety of users on Social Media.

Earlier, Tech giants had agreed that hate speech will be removed within 24 hours of it being reported. However, upon further analysis, it is found that only 40% of reported cases are being handled within a day’s time.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jerouva stated that Tech Giants had taken a pledge in May and should live up to it. She demanded that these companies take responsibility for the “phenomena of online radicalization, illegal hate speech and illegal news”.

It appears the Tech giants have not fully recognized the horror that weak censorship on Social Media can unveil, even though all recent terrorist activities have left evidence online.

The EU’s research followed 600 incidents between the period of October and November, out of which, 270 incidents were reported to Facebook, 163 to Twitter, and 123 to Youtube. The remainder was reported to other Social Media platforms which were not part of the pledge.

Most of the hate speech was classed as Anti-Muslim (20%) and Anti-Semitic (23%).

A total of 169 cases were reported as hate speech out of which Youtube was the most proactive as it removed 43% of the posts. However, Facebook and Twitter fell behind significantly in keeping up with the responses, removing only 28.3% and 19.1% respectively.

The fact that Facebook has the most active users of any Social Media platforms but is still not expediting the process of removing hate speech is concerning.

Online radicalization has enabled extremists to influence young people at a much faster rate than was previously possible, making it difficult for security forces to keep track of potential threats. Hate speech can provoke individuals that are vulnerable and embolden them to respond unfavorably. In this case, Tech giants needs to do their parts in protecting their users, specifically their younger users which are impressionable and are at a greater risk of radicalization.

Although Tech companies are enforcing greater censorship than before, it needs to be done at a much faster rate to limit the impact of hate speech.