Today the European Commission released the results of its fifth evaluation of the 2016 Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online. The results are overall positive with IT companies assessing 90% of flagged content within 24 hours and removing 71% of the content deemed to be illegal hate speech.
However, the platforms need to further improve transparency and feedback to users. They also have to ensure that flagged content is evaluated consistently over time; separate and comparable evaluations carried out over different time periods showed divergences in performance.
Věra Jourová, Vice-President for Values and Transparency, said: ”The Code of conduct remains a success story when it comes to countering illegal hate speech online. It offered urgent improvements while respecting the freedom of expression. It created valuable partnerships between civil society organisations, national authorities and the IT platforms.
Now the time is ripe to ensure that all platforms have the same obligations across the entire Single Market and clarify in legislation the platforms‘ responsibilities to make users safer online. What is illegal offline remains illegal online.”
Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: „I welcome these good results. We should, however, not satisfy ourselves with these improvements and we should continue the good work. I urge the platforms to close the gaps observed in most recent evaluations, in particular on providing feedback to users and transparency. In this context, the forthcoming Digital Services Act will make a difference.
It will create a European framework for digital services, and complement existing EU actions to curb illegal hate speech online. The Commission will also look into taking binding transparency measures for platforms to clarify how they deal with illegal hate speech on their platforms.”
For more information on this monitoring exercise, you can find a code of conduct, a memo and factsheet.
Christian Wigand – Guillaume Mercier – Katarzyna Kolanko –