Tech companies may face new legislation after struggling to comply with voluntary code of conduct.
The European Commission this week called on Facebook, Twitter, and other major tech companies to more aggressively police online hate speech or else face new legislation that would force them to do so. As the Financial Times reports, a study commissioned by Věra Jourová, the EU justice commissioner, found that Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Microsoft have largely struggled to comply with a voluntary code of conduct on hate speech announced earlier this year.
European governments have pressured tech companies to more proactively curb hate speech and incitement to terrorism, amid heightened racial tensions and national security concerns. The government-led effort has been particularly aggressive in Germany, where the ongoing refugee crisis has sparked a xenophobic backlash that has reinvigorated the far-right. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas recently said that Facebook should be treated as a media company, which would make it liable for any hate speech published to its platform.
Under a code of conduct announced in May, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft agreed to review and respond to “the majority” of hate speech complaints within 24 hours. According to the commission’s report, however, only 40 percent of recorded incidents were reviewed within 24 hours. After 48 hours, that figure rose to 80 percent, according to both the Financial Times and Reuters...