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EU praises Facebook, YouTube, others for cracking down on hate speech

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The European Commission commended the social media giants, including Facebook on Monday for quickly removing illegal hate speeches posted on their websites in line with an EU code of conduct.

In 2016, the European Union’s executive asked online giants to sign up to voluntary rules, aimed at preventing the spread of racist or xenophobic content as well as hate speeches, while respecting freedom of expression.

Euroapean Union EU

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat and Dailymotion have all signed up, with the French gaming platform announcing its participation on Monday.

Online platforms are now managing to assess 89 per cent of suspicious content flagged to them within 24 hours and they are removing almost 72 per cent of content deemed to be illegal hate speech, on average, the commission said.

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However, the companies should do more to improve their feedback to users who flag suspicious content, it noted.

“Illegal hate speech online is not only a crime, it represents a threat to free speech and democratic engagement,’’ said EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova.

The issue is particularly relevant ahead of European Parliament elections taking place across the bloc in May.

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