CST works with European Commission to tackle antisemitic hate speech online

13 Dec 2016 by CST

Last week CST attended the EU High Level Group on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance meeting in Brussels. CST has been working with the group for several months to tackle hate speech online, by engaging with numerous social media and internet companies including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft.

CST also took part in a six-week monitoring exercise organised by the International Network Against Cyber Hate, INACH, and several other NGOs to assess the work that social media companies are doing to combat hate speech online and ensure they confirm with the European Commission Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online. Namely, social media companies must review notifications in a timely manner, review reported content against their own guidelines and the law and to remove illegal hate speech in under 24 hours or disable access to the content.

The monitoring exercise included 600 pieces of content reported by CST and other groups from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. 23.7% of reported content was considered to be antisemitic, with 20.2% considered anti-Muslim and 21% included hatred based on National origin. Facebook removed 28.3% of content reported that was deemed illegal, Twitter removed 19.1% of content and YouTube removed 48.5%.

Vera Jourova, the Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality addressed the High Level Group last week, and stated that in light of the exercise, it is clear that social media and internet companies need to do more to ensure they comply with both the Code of Conduct and law of individual European states. Additionally, she called for more transparency in the process and stated that the process needs to be consistent across Europe – the monitoring exercise showed that removal rates vastly differed across the continent.

CST welcomes the work of the European Commission to tackle hate speech, including antisemitism, online and looks forward to continuing our partnership and taking part in the next round of monitoring, set for the beginning of 2017.

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