EU calls on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to fight hate speech

Sept. 28 (UPI) — The European Commission issued new guidelines on illegal hate speech and terrorism-related Internet content on Thursday, demanding that online platforms get more aggressive in removing illegal content.

The 20-page report calls on Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to improve its detection capabilities.

The report recommends that the companies forge stronger relationships with “trusted flaggers” of content who are trained in the EU definition of hate speech, and develop “automatic detection technologies.”

The Commission, the legislative arm of the European Union, also called for development of tools to keep others from re-uploading objectionable material.

The report noted that, after a code of conduct was agreed to by the four social media companies in 2016, “removals of illegal hate speech have increased from 28 percent to 59 percent.”

The report did not outline punishments for failure to follow the guidelines, but the union has issued severe penalties for law-breaking.

Google was ordered earlier this year to pay a $2.8 billion fine in an antitrust case. This week it announced a $1 billion penalty against Swedish truck maker Scania for involvement in a cartel.

Member nations are independently passing anti-online hate speech laws as well. Several European countries aren’t waiting for the EU to act. They’re already pushing through strict laws punishing social media companies for being too lax when it comes to illegal hate speech.

Germany approved legislation in April to begin fining Facebook, Twitter and others as much as $59 million if hate speech and fake news posts are not deleted within 24 hours after being identified.

A British parliamentary committee has accused profit-driven social media firms of continuing to host illegal content. It committee called for “meaningful fines” if the companies do not act more quickly to take down illegal content.