Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft all agree to battle 'hate speech'

From the New York Daily News

By Alejandro Alba

Tech giants are cracking down on hate speech.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft have all agreed to the European Commission's new "code of conduct," which aims to combat illegal hate speech and terrorist propaganda.

These new regulations, which were announced Tuesday, will require the tech companies to review the majority of hateful online content within 24 hours of being notified—and remove the post if it's truly offensive and malicious.

Tech companies will also have to promote independent counter-narratives to hate speech published online.

These new rules stemmed from the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, which inflated racial tensions in countries overseas. Groups like ISIS spreading their radical message on social media have also inspired the new regulations.

"The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech," Vera Jourova, EU commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, said in a statement. "Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalize young people and to spread violence and hatred."

This is not the first time these tech giants have agreed to combat online hate speech. Back in December, Facebook, Twitter and Google agreed to a similar code in Germany in order to help take down racist and xenophobic content.

All four companies shared a statement with a similar narrative, which basically highlight that their services will remain open to all sorts of information and freedom of speech, but will monitor and remove any hate speech.

"Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter and we will continue to tackle this issue head on alongside our partners in industry and civil society," said Karen White, Twitter's Head of Public Policy for Europe. "We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow. However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate."

In the U.S., Twitter and Facebook already monitor and remove any hate speech, terrorist propaganda and even revenge porn. Anything that is offensive, promoting violence or that can damage a person's reputation is flagged by the social networks.

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