The fight against inciting hatred on line speeds up

Fighting illegal online hate speech – First results of the new code of conduct
© EU, 2016

According to an assessment carried out by an NGO and public organisms from 24 member states of the European Union, important progress has been made in complying with the code of conduct related to the illegal incitement of hatred on line. This code includes a series of commitments made by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to combat the dissemination of this type of content in Europe.

On signing this agreement, technology-based companies committed themselves to examine most valid notifications of illegal incitement of hatred within 24 hours and to eliminate such content or deactivate access to it, if need be, in line with national legislation to apply European law. The code also stresses the need to continue debating the way to foment transparency, the alternative narrative and counter narrative.

One year after the adoption of the code of conduct, some important progress has been made, although certain difficulties are still present:

  • In an average of 59% of cases, technology-based companies have responded to notifications related to illegal incitement of hatred by eliminating the content, which involves more than double the average of 28% recorded six months earlier.
  • The amount of notifications reported over a 24 hour-period has gone from 40% to 51% over the last six months. Nevertheless, Facebook is the only company which examines most notifications the same day.
  • Over the last six months, technology-based companies have improved when dealing with notifications made by members of the public compared with those made by organisations. However, there are still some differences.
  • It is necessary to continue improving in the area of the quality of the information concerning the motivation behind a decision.

Technology-based companies have reinforced their notification system, simplifying the one involving incitement to hate in particular. They have trained their personnel and have intensified their participation in civil society. The application of the code of conduct has consolidated and extended the networks of trustworthy people in these companies prepared to sound the alarms all over Europe.

More intense cooperation with civil society organisations has led to an increase in the quality of the notifications, more efficient treatment deadlines and better results from the point of view of the reaction to notifications.


Questions and answers

Information file about the second assessment

Code of conduct

Fight against incitement of hatred on line: first assessment of the code of conduct

Information file – First evaluation of the code of conduct

Intermediate review of the Sole Digital Market (Spanish)

Information file about the intermediate review of the Sole Digital Review strategy


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